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Rep. West announces nearly $90 million for Ohio college scholarships, funding to fight coronavirus and substance abuse among other projects

April 6, 2021
Thomas West News

Rep. Thomas E. West (D-Canton) announced the state Controlling Board this week approved $69.8 million for the Choose Ohio First Scholarship program, as well as nearly $20 million to the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) to fund substance abuse prevention and recovery programs as well as the state’s continued coronavirus pandemic response. 

“Access to an affordable college education has taken on greater urgency during the pandemic. This scholarship funding will go a long way for our students who aspire to a STEM or medical career,” said Rep. West. “The same is true about supporting those struggling with substance abuse – we must continue to provide supports for those whose battles with addiction have worsened over the past year.”

The Choose Ohio First Scholarship program will receive $69.8 million to fund scholarships for Ohioans pursuing STEM, medical, and dentistry programs at Ohio colleges and universities.

In addition, $15.5 million will go to ODH for efforts to combat substance abuse and drug overdoses, and other public health-related expenses. Another of $4.3 million was approved for transfer to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and support other public health emergency preparedness efforts. 

Other notable items approved during this week’s Controlling Board meeting include:

  • $6.1 million for the Department of Aging to reduce hunger among elderly Ohioans.
  • $1 million to support technology needs for increased remote work for county Jobs and Family Services agencies.
  • $2.7 million in capital funds for hardware, professional services, radio authentication system core licenses, and other equipment for the Multi-Agency Radio Communications System (MARCS) to improve communication for first responders throughout the state.
  • $102,775 to support cybersecurity for the Bureau of Workers Compensation in its efforts to counter unemployment fraud.