On Wednesday, October 30, OCAAUP President John McNay testified on behalf of the Ohio Conference as an interested party on Senate Bill 181.
SB 181 would require the Chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education to establish a workforce-education template for Ohio’s colleges and universities to use, should they so choose.
A workforce-education program is one that connects students to job opportunities, where the employer would assist the students with tuition costs.
The idea is that — between the employer and institution financial aid — the students who participate will graduate debt-free.
In his testimony, Dr. McNay told the Ohio Senate Higher Education Committee that the Conference supports the intent of the legislation, but relayed concerns that faculty have about the financial arrangement. He recommended that the legislation should be changed so that responsibility of costs is clarified.
McNay stated, “The bill does not specify that the employer must cover a certain amount of costs. Additionally, the legislation merely says that the institution of higher education and employer must seek out additional funding sources for any costs of attendance not covered by the employer or financial aid.”
The Senate committee favorably reported the bill without amendment. We intend to keep working with legislators to encourage more specificity in the enabling legislation for this program.