Working To Make Higher Education More Affordable
A Guest Column by State Senator Jay Hottinger
June 29, 2015
 
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Eight years ago, Ohio’s tuition rates were 50 percent higher than the national average. Today, those rates are only 10 percent above the national average, and Ohio ranks best in the nation for restraining tuition growth at 4-year public institutions. While our state government, colleges and universities have together taken significant steps to increase the affordability of Ohio’s higher education institutions, we recognize that more can be done.

The Senate’s Higher Education budget focuses on increasing the affordability of higher education while investing in our colleges and universities to ensure we maintain the quality of our institutions. In addition to freezing tuition for two years, the budget increases in-state support for public colleges and universities by over $200 million from this past year’s funding level. Every college and university will be required to provide and institute a plan to reduce tuition costs by 5 percent for undergraduate students – a challenge higher education leaders say they are ready to tackle.
           
We have also added additional funding to the Ohio College Opportunity Grant to safeguard Ohio's capacity to provide adequate need-based student support.

Finally, we are streamlining collaboration between community colleges and universities though the 2+2 Transfer Program, which will align associate degrees with a comparable 4-year program to help students save time and money. 2+2 also helps avoid duplicating 4-year programs that hinder a community college’s ability to fulfill its core mission: providing degrees that meet local workforce needs.

I am excited and optimistic about the great strides the Senate is making toward increasing the affordability of higher education while enhancing the quality of our state institutions. Our Higher Education budget is an opportunity for Ohio students to see a significant decrease in their tuition costs. It is an investment not only in their futures, but in Ohio’s future as well.

 
 
 
  
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