BOWLING GREEN — Ohio two-year colleges will have a financial incentive to help students finish their classes and get their degrees under the new state higher education funding formula ceremonially signed Thursday by Gov. John Kasich.
The new law pays state two-year colleges based on how many students finish classes and earn degrees and certificates. It follows a similar measure last year that converted the funding for four-year institutions to the performance-based model.
“They will only take funding if people complete courses or when you walk across the stage at your graduation. There is no place in America where this is happening. We want to make sure that when you’re getting an education that that education is going to lead to a job. If it doesn’t lead to a job then in many respects we’ve failed,” Mr. Kasich said.
He signed the bill onstage at the Stroh Center at Bowling Green State University in front of an audience of about 1,200 high school juniors about to become seniors and participating in the annual Buckeye Boys State.
In reality, the law was signed last week. Spokesman Rob Nichols said the event Thursday was a ceremonial signing event.
The top financial officials of two northwestern Ohio two-year colleges said the change in funding was likely to benefit the students.
“It’s good for the students because it motivates the colleges to come up with strategies to get them through faster and into jobs, which is our mission,” said Laurie Sabin, chief financial officer for Owens Community College.
She was a member of the Community College Funding Consortium that worked from March through December, 2013, to develop the measurements and framework for the new formula.
“If the driving force of 37 percent of the revenue your organization is going to receive is going to be based on students completing classes and getting through credit hours, it’s going to do that,” Ms. Sabin said. “Plus it’s the right thing to do.”
The new formula is more complicated than the enrollment count used in the past. It is based 50 percent on the number of course completions; 25 percent on completion of associates’ degrees, certificates, and transfers to other institutions, and 25 percent based on various academic “success points.”
Kathryn Soards, chief fiscal and administrative officer for Northwest State Community College near Archbold, said her college was “really pleased” with the new formula. The college had two participants on the committee that produced the formula.
“It’s positively aligning things for the institutions and the state of Ohio to help students complete their educations and find employment,” Mrs. Soards said.
Based on the formula, Owens will see a decline in funding from $34.3 million this fiscal year to $32.9 million the next. Northwest State’s funding will increase, from $9.8 million to just over $10 million.
During the weeklong Boys State held at BGSU, boys from high schools all over Ohio create a simulated state of Ohio, including electing their own governor and legislature.
“If you think about the fact that you were made special for a special purpose, you can figure out what that special purpose is,” Mr. Kasich told delegates.
The governor was joined on stage by BGSU President Mary Ellen Mazey, members of the BGSU board of trustees, some lawmakers, and representatives of the Ohio Board of Regents.