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New Funding Formula for Higher Ed Proposed

Gov. Kasich and University Presidents
Unveil New Funding Formula 

At a press event on November 30, Gov. John Kasich and the presidents of the four-year public colleges proposed a new formula to fund higher education in Ohio, which will be part of next year’s biennial budget.

The current State Share of Instruction (SSI) formula is primarily based on enrollment numbers. Under the new plan, which was devised by the university presidents at the behest of the Governor, SSI will be based primarily on graduation numbers and course-completion rates. The idea is to provide a financial incentive to universities to achieve desirable outcomes, rather than reward enrollment.

Specifically, 50 percent of the SSI formula will be based on graduation numbers; 30 percent based upon course completion; with the remaining 20 percent dedicated to factors like college readiness and demographics. 

*Other pieces of this proposal include:

  • Eliminating the separate funding formula for regional campuses in the second year of the two-year budget, which will be rolled out in early February and will take effect on July 1.
  • Rewarding universities that attract the best students into Ohio and keep them in the state for employment or continuing education.
  • Repealing laws that place “artificial constraints” on regional campuses, such as separate approval processes for degree offerings.
  • Developing a formula in the second year of the budget to reward a student’s successful completion of an associate degree.
  • Rewarding schools that successfully train non-traditional and at-risk students. 

*Source: The Columbus Dispatch As with any plan that provides financial incentives for certain outcomes, there are concerns over potential unintended consequences. For example, faculty could be pressured into inflating grades to pass students, or administrators may be tempted to override faculty-given grades.  In general, colleges may unfairly close the door to disadvantaged students who are considered less likely to graduate or successfully train. There are also concerns about how the elimination of separate funding for regional campuses will impact regional campuses and their relationships with main campuses. The Ohio Conference will continue to monitor this proposal and will raise the aforementioned concerns during state budget deliberations, which will begin in February next year. Our goal is to provide constructive criticisms that can aid the success of this new formula.

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