Ohio’s Higher Education Budget: A Commendable if Modest Action Plan

The Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions released its latest report, Ohio’s Higher Education Budget: A Commendable if Modest Action Plan. The report, written by Dr. Richard Vedder and Anthony Hennen of the Center for College Affordability, provides an assessment of Governor John Kasich’s proposed higher education budget.

Robert Alt, President of The Buckeye Institute, said: “The Buckeye Institute’s latest report finds that by tying a portion of public funding to graduation rather than just enrollment, the Governor’s higher education plan provides some much needed pressure on colleges to become more efficient.”

The report finds that the Governor’s plan takes a modest positive step toward aligning state support for its public universities with performance-based measures. The plan makes 50 percent of state support, through the State Share of Instruction, contingent upon degree completions. Fully implementing this plan would propel Ohio to a position of leadership in the nationwide effort to tie state support for higher education to achievement rather than enrollment. Only Tennessee would make a larger share of its support contingent on performance-based funding at 100 percent.

The report raises questions about the long-term efficacy of the Administration’s proposed tuition freeze in the absence of stronger internal cost controls by higher education institutions, acknowledges the danger of schools lowering academic standards in order to inflate graduation rates, and suggests that a bolder plan would have disbursed funds to students rather than institutions. Despite these caveats, the plan moves Ohio’s higher education system closer to achieving greater transparency and accountability.

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