Funding fix would be smart movePublished 12:00am Sunday, December 2, 2012
Ohio’s proposed higher education funding reform is a bold and innovative change that will emphasize results and accountability, but it isn’t without potential pitfalls.
The Ohio Higher Education Funding Commission, made up of college university leaders who Gov. John Kasich tasked to work together in order to find a solution, made recommendations Friday that center around the plan to tie about half of the state’s $1.7 billion in higher education funding to graduation rates.
Currently, less than half of the nearly 438,000 students who enter Ohio’s colleges actually graduate.
The state can do better.
In the past, funding was primarily driven off of enrollment data. This plan shifts the focus from just getting students in the classroom to getting students out the door with a degree.
But the specific formula for funding and many other details have yet to be finalized. The challenge will be to ensure that education standards do not drop simply to fill the coffers. Focusing on graduation results is a smart move, as long as the quality of education doesn’t diminish.
Secondly, we urge the governor and the lawmakers who will ultimately have to approve the changes to ensure that branch campuses and feeder institutions are not penalized because many of their students may not technically graduate.
But these are certainly hurdles the state can overcome. Ohio’s students and future will certainly be better for it.