On Tuesday, January 31, Gov. DeWine gave his “State of the State” address, which outlined his budget priorities for Fiscal Years 2024-2025.
This is the first executive state budget in a dozen years that demonstrates a greater commitment to higher education and increased financial help for students.
Here are some of the highlights:
-A 9.5% increase to overall Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) funding in FY 2024 and an additional 9% increase in FY 2025
-3% increases to State Share of Instruction (SSI–the main funding stream from the state to public colleges and universities) in each fiscal year
-More than doubling current Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG–the major need-based grant for students attending four-year colleges) awards to $6,000 per student
-Creating the Ohio College Access Grant (OCAG–a new need-based grant for students attending community colleges and university regional campuses), which would have approximately $41 million in available awards across both fiscal years
-A 6.7% increase to OhioLink in FY 2024 and an additional 5% in FY 2025
–Ohio Supercomputer Center would get a 9.5% bump in the first fiscal year with an additional 5% in the next fiscal year
-Creating the Governor’s Merit Scholarship, which would provide $5,000 renewable scholarships for four years to students who graduate in the top 5% of their high school classes
You can find more complete details about the higher education components of the governor’s proposed budget here, starting on page 333.
The governor’s proposal is just the beginning of the state budget process. We can expect testimony from department and agency directors starting as early as next week in the Ohio House of Representatives. Closer to mid-February, we should see the formal introduction of the budget bill in the House, which also will contain policy language, such as, potentially, restraints on tuition and fee increases.
We will keep our members informed as the process unfolds. OCAAUP will testify at the appropriate committee hearings. While this is generally a positive proposed budget for higher education, SSI increases still fail to keep pace with inflation, and we need to ensure that our institutions have the resources necessary to attract and retain quality faculty to give students the best education possible.