Ohio’s newly proposed higher education formula is receiving praise for a shifting focus onto helping students complete their degrees. The Plain Dealer has more in this editorial:
Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s penchant for breaking the mold in higher education deserves applause once again.
Fresh off his success having Ohio’s public college presidents work collaboratively to divvy up limited construction funds, Kasich’s prompting has again spurred a successful collaboration — this time to make college graduation rates a more important factor in state funding decisions.
The governor again asked E. Gordon Gee of Ohio State University to lead the collaboration. The result of this Ohio Higher Education Funding Commission is a promising proposal for four-year colleges — an idea slated to become part of Kasich’s biennial budget proposal in February — and a pledge to develop a new funding formula for community colleges in the second year of the budget.
The plan would tie half the approximately $600 million the state annually allots four-year institutions to how well those colleges did in graduating students over the three prior years. The other half would be tied to course-completion rates.
Right now, about one-fifth of state funding is linked to graduation numbers and the other four-fifths to course completion.
Lawmakers, who must approve this proposal, should take it as a serious bid to boost graduation rates in a state where college attainment lags the national average.
Still, colleges that have a mission to serve at-risk students ought not to be punished, and this formula attempts to make sure they aren’t — at least not in the long run. To that end, colleges will get bonus funding when they graduate disadvantaged students, including minorities, those older than the norm or those from challenged academic backgrounds.
Ohio’s public colleges and universities need to focus on keeping students on track to receive a diploma in four years. Rewarding them with additional state money when they do makes eminent sense.
You can read the entire editorial here.