Kasich proposes changes for Ohio higher education system

By Grant Morgan, News Editor

Governor John Kasich’s recent budget proposal and executive order will change Ohio’s higher education system, and UA will not be excluded.

On Tuesday, Feb. 10, Kasich signed an executive order to create a nine-member Task Force on Affordability and Efficiency. This group’s goal is to lower the cost—or, at least, prevent the cost from rising—of attending two and four-year institutions. The group will have to report results to the governor by Thursday, Oct. 1.

“What I’m looking for is numbers people, smart business people, business people who can get right in to the foundation of these schools and figure out a good game plan,” Kasich said about the task force, according to an article on Cleveland.com.

Kasich will appoint five members of the group, while the other four will be appointed by Ohio’s Congress—two choices by the Senate and two choices by the House of Representatives.

To save money, Ohio’s governor also suggested that public universities end low-enrollment programs, privatize non-academic assets, and expand summer school services.

“The governor is advancing new proposals to help universities address the number one issue facing higher education: college affordability,” said Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor John Carey Thursday Feb. 4 in an OhioHigherEd.org editorial.

Carey went on to outline some other reforms to the system. These reforms are detailed in Kasich’s new budget, which was revealed on Monday, Feb. 2, and partly embodied in Kasich’s Wednesday, Feb. 11 executive order.

A $20 million innovation program will be allocated to “help universities implement their best reform ideas.” Along with this, the board of trustees of each public college will have to conduct an “efficiency review to help reduce costs.”

The proposed budget will also make available $18.5 million for Ohio’s College Credit Plus program. This program extends collegiate education to high school students by training teachers and organizing dual enrollment courses.

Kasich wants to limit tuition increases to two percent for the coming school year, with no tuition increase for 2017. Ohio seems to already be ahead of the competition when it comes to public school tuition, however. According to the Inter-University Council, Ohio is the only state where, in the past decade, public school tuition has grown at a slower rate than inflation.

Last, but not in the least, a $120 million fund will help students with lingering college debt—specifically students with in-demand job degrees who will stay in Ohio for at least five years. The specifics of this program have not been finalized.

“I reserve the right…to say that within the course of the next year, if they do not enact these changes…I think you just start cutting funding and tell them to deal with it,” Kasich said about the presidents of two and four-year colleges, according to a Feb. 11 article by The Columbus Dispatch.