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Owens explores ways to boost funding

President Bower says no timeline on potential levy option

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Mike Bower

THE BLADE
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Decreased state funding and a desire to keep tuition low has led Owens Community College to explore a potential levy, but there‘‍s no timeline on that decision, Owens President Mike Bower said today during a State of the College address.

Mr. Bower emphasized the word “explore” when talking about a potential levy, and Board of Trustees Chairman Rich Rowe said after the speech that a levy is just one option. The college formed a committee earlier this year to explore ways to raise new revenue, and has hired a consulting firm to help it build a case for amending its charter, a necessary step for a Owens to place a levy on the ballot.

Enrollment at Owens continues to decline, Mr. Bower said. In the fall of 2009, enrollment was 23,606. The college estimates fewer than 13,000 students will enroll this fall.

With state funding now tied to student performance, and not enrollment, Owens will need to improve its retention and completion rates, or it will face further budget struggles.

But the college is committed to its Findlay campus, Mr. Bower said, dispelling unfounded talk that Owens had plans to shut that campus down. The college is considering student housing at the Perrysburg Township campus.

Mr. Bower spoke to several hundred staff and students at the Center for Fine and Performing Arts Theatre on the Toledo area campus; more people may have planned to attend, but a torrential downpour preceded the speech.

Contact Nolan Rosenkrans at: nrosenkrans@theblade.com, 419-724-6086, or on Twitter @NolanRosenkrans.
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