While Gov. DeWine has the ability to line item veto portions of House Bill 110, the state budget bill, before he signs it into law, here are the higher education highlights of the final bill as passed by the House and Senate:
-The Senate’s language to require the chancellor to approve any nursing programs at two-year colleges that meet certain criteria was included in the final bill.
-The conference committee also adopted the language from SB 135 about not allowing a state institution of higher education to withhold a transcript if an employer requires one, and the funding for the second chance grant pilot program remained in the bill.
-Additionally, the final bill would allow college athletes to profit from their name, image, and likeness (Gov. DeWine already had signed an executive order to this effect).
-The conference committee also included new language that establishes a task force to evaluate Wright State’s Lake Campus and create a long-term strategic plan.
-State Share of Instruction (SSI) will receive a 1.9% “increase” over the biennium, which fails to keep pace with inflation, let alone be the kind of real increase that our institutions desperately need to support students and academic programs.
-The Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG), which supports low-income students, will receive an almost $11 million increase over the next two years, taking the fund to a total of over $219 million. While this is welcome news, it still falls well short of the $250 million that was envisioned when the grant was first established.