Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has signed into law Ohio’s new state budget. Chancellor Randy Gardner said the new budget aims to meet the needs of students and employers, positioning Ohio for enhanced education attainment and a strengthened economy.
“This budget continues the DeWine Administration’s focus on student-centered education policies, addressing affordability and accessibility of higher education that brightens Ohio’s economic future,” Chancellor Gardner said.
Budget highlights pertaining to higher education include:
- Supporting Ohio’s college students with financial aid. The Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG) provides financial assistance to Ohio residents who demonstrate the highest levels of financial need. The new budget provides enough funding to increase OCOG by at least $500 per student over the next two years. Combined with a similar increase in the first DeWine-Husted budget, eligible students will receive $1,000 more per year than they did in 2018 – a 44% average increase in student aid under Governor DeWine’s leadership. The budget also includes a new $7 million program to help those attending community colleges and technical centers with short-term certificate scholarship aid.
- Making higher education more accessible and affordable. Ohio’s operating budget will help families and students by maintaining that all incoming freshmen at four-year public undergraduate universities in Ohio have their tuition and general fees frozen – guaranteed – so what they pay for their first year will be the same for the next three consecutive years following admission to the university. “We have reviewed ‘guarantee’ programs in other states, and we believe Ohio has the best guaranteed tuition strategy in the nation,” Chancellor Gardner said.
- Focusing on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) opportunities. The new budget expands opportunities for Ohio college students to earn STEM degrees by providing a meaningful increase for the Choose Ohio First scholarship program. The budget increases the Choose Ohio First investment to $28 million in FY23, allowing Ohio’s colleges and universities to serve more students than ever before. The budget appropriation received a 54% increase over the previous biennium’s actual expenditures.
- Earning free college credit while in high school. The budget allows broader access to the College Credit Plus program – a key program in Ohio’s college affordability effort. To date, College Credit Plus has resulted in an estimated $725 million in tuition savings for students and families over the past five years, with more than 1,000 certificates and more than 3,000 associate degrees earned for free by students participating in the program.
- Expanding students’ postsecondary opportunities. Increasing the number of high school students completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is vital to Ohio’s long-term attainment goals. The new budget requires each school district to enter into a FAFSA data-sharing agreement to assist with efforts to support and encourage students to complete the FAFSA. Completing the FAFSA qualifies students for various postsecondary pathways by showing all available options to pay for degrees, certificates, and credentials.
- Increasing funding to Ohio Technical Centers (OTCs). Ohio Technical Centers are positioned to respond quickly to the needs of business and industry by providing customized training and business consultation services to companies to assist with meeting Ohio’s workforce goals. The new budget means OTC funding will have increased by 31% over the past four years under Governor DeWine. OTCs provide postsecondary career and technical education at 54 sites across Ohio, in collaboration with secondary career centers, high schools, and joint vocational schools.
- Providing wraparound services for students through the Community College Acceleration Program (CCAP). The new budget includes an additional $5 million in the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services’ Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Employment and Training to support and expand current programming in the CCAP program, designed to assist eligible students with everyday needs including childcare, transportation, and educational expenses. The program helps SNAP participants gain skills, training, and work experience to increase their ability to earn a degree and achieve employment.
- Strengthening Ohio’s workforce through TechCred. TechCred is one of Ohio’s most successful business-education partnerships. This innovative program is designed to qualify workers for new jobs in the technology-infused economy. The program has already supported more than 23,723 new credentials and certificates to date.
The Ohio Department of Higher Education 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.