February 24, 2023

A freshman from Piketon, Ohio, Gracey Hamm knew SSU was the best choice for her after finding out she could receive Free Tuition to the university. Hamm, majoring in Business Management and minoring in Human Resources, was stressed about how she was going to financially take care of college when beginning the application process. When she received the notice that she qualified for free tuition, she felt that a burden had been lifted off of her shoulders.

Gracey Hamm

“Money was a very important thing; I began to stress out,” she said. “I filled out around 25 different scholarships, hoping that was enough. Then, about halfway through my senior year, I received the notification that I got free tuition and began to cry. It was such a relief to not have to worry about it.”

She felt that SSU was the obvious choice for her – she could still stay close to home and wouldn’t have the financial burden that she was worried about. Since beginning at SSU, Hamm has fallen in love with the university, becoming involved with several student organizations and meeting new friends across campus.

“I love how small the classes are,” she said. “Being able to have that one-on-one feeling with my professors and classmates was really important to me. I’m a people person, I love to meet new people.”

Thankful for the opportunity she had to go to SSU because of the support of the Free Tuition program, Hamm encourages other local students to consider SSU for their degree.

“A lot of people want to go out to a bigger college to get independence, but you don’t have to go that far to be independent,” she said. “You’re far enough away from home to where you can learn how to be on your own, but on the off chance something happens, you’re close enough to go back home to see your family.”

SSU’s Free Tuition program is offered to students from Scioto, Pike, Lawrence, Adams, Jackson, Ross, Gallia, Brown, Vinton, and Highland counties in Ohio, and Boyd, Greenup, and Lewis counties in Kentucky who qualify for Federal Pell Grant assistance. The program is for first-time undergraduate students entering SSU who have a high school grade point average of at least 3.0 and an ACT score of at least 18. Qualifying students must also attend college full-time. College Credit Plus students who earned college credit while in high school are eligible.

To learn more about Shawnee State University’s Free Tuition program, visit