Ohio Wesleyan University and six other Central Ohio nonprofit colleges – knowing the coronavirus pandemic has thrown fall college plans into doubt for thousands of local students – are joining together to encourage those students to consider staying within the region, even if they had planned to travel to attend other institutions.

The seven institutions will accept applications until their fall semesters begin and have pledged their partnership to continue providing the education that makes Central Ohio a thriving place to live.

In addition to Ohio Wesleyan, the participating colleges and universities are: Capital University, Columbus College of Art and Design, Columbus State Community College, Franklin University, Ohio Dominican University, and Otterbein University. All of their presidents, including OWU President Rock Jones, Ph.D., have signed on to the following statement:

As presidents of seven colleges and universities in Central Ohio that represent the very best in college opportunity across the continuum of life, learning, and work, we stand together in a pledge of partnership to support our students and families in achieving their educational goals. Our message is clear: “Live Local: Learn Local,” recognizing that Central Ohio’s colleges and universities offer an unmatched range of opportunities and, for regional students, the safety and familiarity of home at a time when travel away may be considered impractical or uncertain.

Our Columbus region boasts a higher education base as dense and diverse as anywhere in the nation. We are national leaders among public and private, two- and four-year institutions. And as our region emerges from COVID-19, there will be an insatiable demand for highly educated, skilled, and experienced graduates, especially in areas most critical to our community’s health, wellness, financial stability, and workforce evolution. Leveraging our collective strength, reach, and commitment to community, we will help students and families achieve their educational goals – driving regional recovery and strength.

We recognize that some students may be considering a gap year, or at least a gap semester, in the hopes that colleges and universities will return to pre-coronavirus operating standards. Sadly, others may think college is out of reach. We highly encourage students not to delay their higher education journey — data demonstrate the risks of not completing for students who wait. And we will work with students and families to make education affordable.

If you were planning to go away to college this fall, stay local. If you’ve been furloughed or let go, and you’re ready for a rewarding new career, stay local. If you’re ready to finish the degree you’ve always wanted, or go back to college for your master’s, stay local to get the college education and the tools you need to enter a new economy. Because there really is no better place than Central Ohio for college opportunity.

Now more than ever, student success and our regional success are co-dependent. Future students, the world needs you. The workforce needs you. We need you. And we stand with you in solidarity, resilience, and hope for our shared future. We are truly in this together.

Learn more about attending Ohio Wesleyan at owu.edu/admission.

Learn Local is amplified by Orange Barrel Media and sister company IKE Smart City, which have been donating airtime on their out-of-home digital signage platforms to support local businesses and nonprofits across the country during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more at orangebarrelmedia.com and ikesmartcity.com.

Source, Photo: OWU; 1808Delaware

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