YELLOW SPRINGS, Ohio (KDKA) – At first blush, just four hours west in Ohio, Antioch College looks like most other small liberal arts schools. However, first impressions can be deceiving.
The classrooms at Antioch College are just like the classrooms at any other university. There’s just one big difference.
To sit in a classroom, the tuition is absolutely free.
Students like Maryann Otuwa, of Shadyside, admit it’s amazing.
“I know, isn’t it? Why isn’t every school like this?” Otuwa said.
Otuwa is one of 33 freshmen at Antioch and another 75 will be admitted next fall. Antioch is a school that closed and then reopened under the leadership of former Pittsburgh Schools Superintendent Mark Roosevelt.
“It has gone viral that we have offered full tuition scholarships to all of these students. So, we are now going to have 3,000 applicants for these 75 positions,” Roosevelt said.
Valued at $110,000, Otuwa said she isn’t attending for the free tuition, rather because it represents the school’s commitment to social justice.
“It’s not a division between somebody who can afford this school or somebody who can’t afford this school, but is given all these loans and scholarships. In a way, they make us all equal,” Otuwa said.
As a start-up school that once educated Coretta Scott King, classmate Rachael Smith said, “Creative hard workers are the kind of people we need here. And I think the kind of people who will come here.”
Put simply, free or not, Antioch is not for everyone. Roosevelt wants what he calls “gritty students.”
“Students who have shown that they persevere and that means, yes, obstacles have been placed in their path. But, when they have a goal, whether that goal is a college degree or whatever, they understand that persevering towards that goal is essential,” Roosevelt said.
For more information about Antioch College, visit their website here.