State Share of Instruction (SSI) — the main funding stream of state subsidy to public colleges and universities — has been cut 4.38% from its original budget allocation for this fiscal year (July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021). This is on top of the 3.8% cut that was made from original budget allocations for the previous fiscal year.
These are across-the-board reductions, and we must keep in mind that the SSI funding formula, which is based primarily on course completions and graduations, impacts colleges and universities in varying ways aside from these cuts.
In other words, based on your institution’s “performance” in those areas, your college or university may be dealing with even less SSI, or may have greater SSI that will help offset these losses. You can see the first half SSI projections for Fiscal Year 2021 here on the ODHE website.
Additionally, there is no guarantee that the 4.38% reduction will be the only cut to SSI this fiscal year. If Ohio continues to struggle with unemployment and insufficient tax receipts, additional cuts may be considered.
Despite SSI cuts, the Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG), which is a need-based grant program available to students who attend public or private colleges and universities in the state, will remain unscathed.
Most institutions had been bracing for upwards of a 20% SSI reduction. This is precisely why we have advocated that institutions should not be making drastic decisions with insufficient information. We appreciate that Chancellor Randy Gardner and his team at ODHE fought to maintain as much SSI funding as possible.
However, cuts are cuts, and these are coming at a time when higher education cannot afford additional hits. To our knowledge, no other cuts to the FY 2021 budget have been announced. Higher education, it seems, is only a priority when it comes to disinvestment.
The Ohio Conference AAUP is working with allied organizations to lobby the state and federal governments for resources that will restore lost funding and help put our institutions back on better financial footing. State government must look at using the “Rainy Day Fund” and revenue options, and we desperately need a second federal stimulus/relief bill with direct support for higher education.
National AAUP has a letter campaign to federal lawmakers urging more aid. It only takes a minute to fill in your name and address and send the pre-filled message. Please take action and help circulate.
Throughout these financial crises, the Ohio Conference and National AAUP have been providing as much support as possible to chapters and individual members. We know that these are deeply unsettling times, but we are doing our best to help protect the interests of faculty and the academic missions of our institutions.
We also want to recognize the leadership and activists at our chapters who have been working tirelessly to defend their contracts and faculty handbooks. Your efforts have not gone unnoticed. Keep fighting!