The men pleaded guilty to two charges of aggravated robbery and six charges of kidnapping. They face 20 years in prison when sentenced Dec. 27.
Andrew Butler, 20, a student at the University of Toledo, told Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Steve Martin on Monday that tuition increases outpaced his scholarships and financial aid.
Christopher Avery, 22, a student at the University of Cincinnati, said he couldn't pay for summer classes after an internship at a grocery store fell through.
"I was strapped for cash," Avery said. "I thought I had nothing to lose."
Armed with guns and wearing masks, Butler and Avery made off with $130,000 from a crowded Valley Central Savings Bank in suburban Reading on July 17, said Assistant Hamilton County Prosecutor Brian Goodyear.
An attempt to rob a check-cashing business a day earlier was thwarted when the students couldn't get through the business' security system despite firing four shots at the bullet-resistant glass, Goodyear said.
The men were caught after trying to switch cars. A witness who thought they were acting suspiciously called police.
Both were being held in a county jail without bond.
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