U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) expressed her support for strengthening the presence of Owens Community College in downtown Toledo on Thursday as the college considers a levy as one possible means of raising money to compensate for declining revenue.
“It’s very important that the state of Ohio place community college resources in the heart of Toledo,” Miss Kaptur said. She added that Ohio’s other large cities have centrally located community colleges. Owens’ main campus is in Perrysburg Township, which Miss Kaptur said is too far from the bulk of its students.
“Over half of the students who attend Owens are in Lucas County,” she said.
Owens’ service district encompasses all of Lucas, Wood, and Hancock counties as well as some communities in Ottawa and Sandusky counties. Owens currently has a training center in Toledo, but moving additional facilities from a more rural location to an urban one could benefit those who are unable to afford a car or other transportation to the current campus, Miss Kaptur said.
“Does it act as a real impediment to thousands of students? Yes,” Miss Kaptur said of Owens’ location.
Owens recently formed a committee to discuss ways of raising new revenue for the school, with a levy being one measure under discussion. Moving the college’s campus would require additional money.
In a written statement, an Owens spokesman said the college was still in the early stages of exploring additional sources of revenue and added, “The ability to have a more significant, expanded presence beyond the current Owens Learning Center in downtown Toledo is an interesting conversation — one that we have been discussing in recent years and welcome additional dialogue as to how this might become feasible.”
As for how to pay for a relocation or expansion of facilities to downtown Toledo, Miss Kaptur said, “Frankly, the state of Ohio should be helping them do that.”
State funding for Owens, which accounts for 38 percent of the school’s annual revenue, has decreased by $8.9 million over the last four years, according to a college news release.
The school gets an additional 47 percent of its revenue from tuition, and 15 percent from other revenue funds. Tuition for the summer 2014 term is $153 per credit hour. In 2011-2012 it was $139 per credit hour and in summer 2012 it was $146 per credit hour.
Miss Kaptur said if Owens decided to move more of its facilities and services to Toledo it should do so in collaboration with other institutions, such as the University of Toledo, Herzing University, and Mercy College, as well as workforce development authorities and other relevant constituencies.
“This is going to take cooperation among the higher education community,” she added.
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