Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed into law Ohio’s new biennial operating budget today. Chancellor Randy Gardner calls the new budget student focused and a positive investment in Ohio’s future.
“After 33 years in the General Assembly and 16 budgets, this may be the most student-focused state budget I’ve seen for higher education,” Chancellor Gardner said. “This budget centers on affordability while helping prepare Ohio for a fast-changing economy and high-quality jobs through workforce preparation, more need-based financial aid, and strategic scholarships.”
Budget highlights pertaining to higher education include:
- Supporting Ohio’s college students by increasing the Ohio College Opportunity Grant, which provides financial assistance to Ohio residents who demonstrate the highest levels of financial need. The budget increases funding for the OCOG grant program by more than $50 million over the biennium, an Ohio record, which results in grant amounts of between $2,500 and $4,000 per eligible student by 2020.
- Making higher education more accessible and affordable for all Ohio students is key to developing a competitive workforce. Ohio’s operating budget will help families and students by requiring public universities to offer guaranteed tuition so students will pay the same price for their sophomore, junior, and senior years as they did for their freshman year. “All 13 public undergraduate universities now have transparent, predictable tuition guarantee programs in place, a DeWine Administration priority,” Chancellor Gardner said.
- Focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and Medicine (STEMM) opportunities for Ohio college students by expanding funding for the Choose Ohio First Scholarship by $12 million each year, which will help serve additional students and improve scholarship benefits for those seeking a degree in the STEMM disciplines. Choose Ohio First scholars complete their degree in four years at nearly twice the rate of other STEMM students, and the program has contributed to a 61 percent increase in the number of graduates with STEMM-related degrees.
- Building up Ohio’s career-tech infrastructure by providing additional support to Ohio’s Technical Centers (OTCs). Fifty-four OTCs around the state provide crucial postsecondary career and technical education to adults seeking training in the skill trades. With an additional investment of more than $6 million over the biennium, more Ohioans will have access to certificates and industry-recognized credentials through their local OTC.
- Strengthening Ohio’s workforce through the authorization of an additional $8 million for the successful Regionally Aligned Priorities in Delivering Skills (RAPIDS) program, which provides campuses with grant funding to purchase equipment necessary to train, retrain, and upskill students for regionally in-demand occupations.
About the Ohio Department of Higher Education
The Ohio Department of Higher Education (formerly known as the Ohio Board of Regents) is a Cabinet-level agency for the Governor of the State of Ohio that oversees higher education for the state. The agency’s main responsibilities include authorizing and approving new degree programs, managing state-funded financial aid programs and developing and advocating policies to maximize higher education’s contributions to the state and its citizens.
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