As we reported previously, Gov. DeWine’s proposed funding for higher education in the state budget represents major strides in increased financial support for students and institutions.
However, the governor’s introduction of his executive budget is just the first step in the state budget process. Legislators are not necessarily committed to maintaining the higher education funding that the governor has proposed. In fact, some legislators have told us that they believe higher education would be getting “too much” funding in this budget bill.
We know that is not true. After decades of cuts followed by “increases” that fail to even keep pace with inflation, tuition and student debt are higher, enrollment is down, faculty and staff positions have been drastically reduced, and academic programs have been eliminated. Ohio’s colleges and universities desperately need real state support to deliver quality education.
We have put together this Action Network page through which you can easily send messages to your State Representative, as well as the members of the House Finance Subcommittee on Higher Education, to ask them to support the governor’s proposed funding. There is a form letter provided, but you can personalize it with specific information about what this funding would mean for your students and your institution.
Thank you in advance for your advocacy efforts!
Here are funding highlights in the current version of the budget bill:
-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
-A significant increase over the current Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG–the major need-based grant for students attending four-year public and private colleges) awards to $6,000 per student
-Creation of 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
-9.5% and 5% Increases in the funding of the Ohio Supercomputer Center over the next two fiscal years
-Creation of 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.