With the rising cost of college, Governor Kasich’s 2018-2019 budget calls for a tuition freeze on Ohio’s public universities. But according to a new “Budget Bite” from Policy Matters Ohio, a tuition freeze won’t address the root problem of long-term underfunding of public higher education.
The Kasich budget calls for a 1 percent increase in State Share of Instruction (SSI), the main source of funding for Ohio’s 14 public universities, 24 regional branch campuses and 23 community colleges. When accounting for inflation, SSI funding actually drops since the last two-year budget.
“Ohio has committed to increasing numbers of residents with degrees or credentials, but without enough funding for public institutions, costs will go up,” said Budget Bite author and Policy Matters Ohio State Policy Fellow Victoria Jackson. “On average Ohio’s lowest income families would need to spend 81 percent of their income to pay for one year of a public university. And most Ohio families, even the middle class, can’t afford college. So two-thirds of the class of 2014 graduated with an average debt load of nearly $30,000.”
Policy Matters calls for state legislators to meet the requests of Ohio’s public universities and increase investment in SSI by approximately $180 million more per year.