Give Back Go Forward is a program that incentivizes community service among Ohioans 60 years and older by offering the opportunity to earn free college tuition.
Ohio seniors enrolled in this program who complete 100 or more community service hours at a designated nonprofit in one year’s time can earn a voucher for three free undergraduate credit hours. To learn more about Give Back Go Forward, please read our FAQs below.
Frequently Asked Questions
Click on the following questions to see the answers. If you have additional questions that are not addressed here, please contact us by emailing GBGF@osu.edu or by calling 614-292-8860.
How do I sign up to volunteer with the Ohio State Give Back Go Forward program?
How is a tuition voucher earned?
A tuition voucher, good for a three-hour tuition voucher for undergraduate courses at The Ohio State University, is earned after being accepted into the program and successfully completing 100 hours of volunteer service at a community partner location.
At what age can I volunteer through the Ohio State Give Back Go Forward program?
You can begin as a volunteer if you are at least 60 years of age at the time you apply.
Are there any residency requirements for earning a tuition voucher?
Volunteers must reside in the state of Ohio and must complete their service at one of the community partners.
Where can I volunteer?
You can volunteer at one of the three community partner locations which are the Mid-Ohio Foodbank, the Columbus Metropolitan Library, St. Stephen's Community House, Mansfield Richland County Public Library, Mansfield City Schools, The Works (Ohio Center for History, Arts, and Technology), Licking County Historical Society, West Ohio Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity- Lima, and BuckeyeBackers.
If I have a current volunteer commitment at one of the community partners, can I count those hours?
Hours completed with a current community partner can count. However, only hours accrued after your application is accepted will be eligible to count toward the tuition voucher. Service completed prior to your application date will not be eligible.
Do I need a background check to be part of this program?
Program participants must adhere to the volunteer requirements of the community partner where they will be serving.
How soon can I start volunteering?
Volunteers are eligible to start recording hours as soon as their application has been approved by Ohio State, their volunteer status has been approved by the community partner, and the tracking period begins.
How long do I have to earn my hours?
The designated service year is one calendar year from the time the volunteer is approved.
How much time must I commit as a program participant?
Aside from having one year to complete 100 volunteer hours, your commitment is self-determined.
As a volunteer, what will I be asked to do?
Volunteer opportunities and tasks vary by community partner. Please contact the partner at which you wish to serve to determine which activities you wish to undertake.
How many tuition vouchers can I earn?
Volunteers can earn up to two tuition vouchers in one calendar year. The vouchers are earned on a first come, first served basis. Participation is currently open to a maximum of 100 volunteers. Ohio State will honor up to 200 vouchers, with a maximum of 2 per enrolled participant.
Can I gift my tuition voucher to someone else?
Yes, a tuition voucher can be gifted as long as the student is an in-state student, is eligible for or enrolled in classes at The Ohio State University, and uses the tuition voucher within five years of it being earned.
May I sign up for Give Back Go Forward more than once?
Yes, registered participants who complete their one-year term are able to sign-up again through our application form. If the program is full at the time of registration, participants will be added to the end of the waitlist and contacted as space becomes available. Please note that as programmatic limitations allow one year to complete 100 volunteer hours, the calculation of hours towards 100 will restart when participation begins again.
Can anyone else in my household/family sign up to be a program participant?
Yes, anyone 60 and older is eligible to become a participant, as long as they have applied, been accepted and are completing hours at a community partner location. Hours from two or more volunteers cannot be combined to meet the criteria for one.
Can I donate my tuition voucher to an Ohio State student?
Yes. If you do not have a specific student selected, and will not be using it yourself, you may donate your voucher to The Ohio State University Student Financial Aid Office. The office will identify a need based student worthy of tuition assistance and apply the tuition voucher to their account as a gift from an anonymous donor.
Due to The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), student information cannot be shared with the Give Back Go Forward donor.
Using a Tuition Voucher
Who can use a tuition voucher?
Tuition vouchers may be used an admitted in-state undergraduate student at the Columbus or any regional campus of The Ohio State University. The student may be the volunteer, or a designee of the volunteer (family member or friend). For questions regarding admission to the university please contact Undergraduate Admissions at 614-292-3980 or AskaBuckeye@osu.edu.
How do I access a tuition voucher?
When a volunteer completes 100 hours of service and those hours have been verified, the tuition voucher will be awarded. The voucher must be used by the recipient or a designee within five years of the voucher issue date.
When can I use my tuition voucher?
The five-year period of validity for the voucher will take effect the semester following the award of the voucher. The student will then have up to five years to utilize the voucher. Vouchers may be submitted for a future term if a student has enrollment for that term. Please note that the voucher will not be credited to the student account until charges for that term have posted.
Tuition vouchers must be submitted for redemption by the posted Fee Payment Deadline (typically one week before the semester start).
How many tuition vouchers can one student use?
The student may not utilize more than one (1) voucher per semester, three (3) per academic year.
I was gifted a tuition voucher, what do I do?
Congratulations! When you are ready to submit your voucher, please bring the award letter, along with the accompanying certificate complete with the student's first and last name and Ohio State Username (lastname.#) to the University Buckeye Link Office.
Student Academic Services Building, Lobby
281 W. Lane Ave
Columbus, OH 43221
In the event the voucher and/or letter has been misplaced, contact the Buckeye Link office via phone or email. A representative will be able to assist you in determining the expiration date of the voucher, whether it is has been redeemed, and, if it has, by whom.
Can I use the tuition voucher for any class?
The voucher can only be used to cover undergraduate tuition (general and instructional fees) for three credit hours.
Are there any residency requirements for students using a tuition voucher?
Students must reside within the Ohio State in-state tuition boundaries. Vouchers are not eligible to be used by non-Ohio residents.
How might using a tuition voucher affect my financial aid?
Students receiving other types of aid that are valid only for undergraduate tuition (general and instructional) may see a reduction in an award if the combination of both awards is higher than total tuition.
If I am using a tuition voucher and do not complete a class, can I use the voucher another semester?
Vouchers are non-refundable and have no monetary value (e.g., if a student drops out during the term for which the voucher is applied).