At a press conference on Monday, October 21, Gov. John Kasich announced that recently-retired Ohio State University President Gordon Gee will lead a study group to examine college “affordability” and “relevance.”
Kasich said that Gee will work with college presidents and leaders in the business community to find ways to better tie education to the job market while finding cost savings for students. There was no mention of consulting college faculty or students, which is troubling given the implications such a study group could have on both constituencies.
As the Ohio Conference AAUP has ostensibly noted in legislative testimony, letters to the editor, and other communications, the two most well-documented and agreed-upon causes of skyrocketing tuition costs are the declines in state subsidies and administrative bloat.
Given that Gordon Gee was the highest paid public university president in the country, and often cited as a driver of the escalation of administrative bloat, one has to question whether Gee is the right person to oversee such an initiative. The Ohio Conference AAUP plans to reach out to the Governor’s office and Mr. Gee to encourage inclusion of faculty and students as these issues are examined. We will keep our members apprised of any developments.
The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) has released a new rule – Statement No. 68 – that will require public universities and other public employers to report net pension liabilities on their financial statements.
Previously, pension liabilities only appeared in the aggregate under each pension system. However, GASB believes this change is necessary to improve transparency in accounting and financial reporting. In the case of the State Teachers Retirement System (STRS), the new liability amounts will be large, and public employers will have a greater appearance of debt.
While it is not yet completely clear how credit rating agencies will react to these new reporting requirements, Moody’s released a report outlining how this change will influence its ratings methodology.
The Ohio Conference AAUP is a member of Healthcare and Pension Advocates of STRS (HPA), a constituency coalition that advocates on behalf of STRS beneficiaries. HPA will be working on communicating this new rule to the public, so it is understood that this is merely an accounting change, not a funding issue.
Statement No. 68 will go into effect for fiscal years beginning after June 15, 2014.