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Published: Friday, 10/26/2001

The Editors: College leaders criticize cuts by state

State budget cuts directed at higher education are shortsighted and can only hurt Ohio and its economy in the long run, three area college presidents said yesterday during taping of The Editors television program.

“I think if we take a short-term view of this, we will be paying a very high price for this in years to come,” said Dr. Daniel Johnson, president of the University of Toledo.

He was joined on the program by Bowling Green State University President Sidney Ribeau and Medical College of Ohio President Frank McCullough.

Gov. Bob Taft made it official last week that state assistance to higher education will be cut by 6 percent as a result of a slowing economy. That is expected to translate into a $5.6 million reduction for UT, $5 million for BGSU, and $1.9 million for MCO.

Sustained cuts could make public universities less able to take on additional students in the future, Dr. Ribeau said, and fewer college graduates would mean a drop in per capita income and quality of life.

Furthermore, higher education needs more funding to help the state transition to a knowledge and technology-based economy, Dr. McCullough said.

The presidents were questioned by Thomas Walton, vice president-editor of The Blade.

The Editors will be broadcast at 9 tonight on WGTE-TV, Channel 30, and at 12:30 p.m. Sunday on WBGU-TV, Channel 27.

Current economic conditions and a court decision that could lead the state to allocate hundreds of millions more for K-12 education have made the funding problem for higher education more acute recently, but the problem isn't new, they said.

“Ohio has not historically strongly supported higher education,” Dr. Ribeau said.

All the presidents, who said they oppose shifting the burden to students through a mid-year tuition hike, said the state needs to generate more revenue, whether it be through closing tax loopholes, entering a multistate lottery, or even a tax increase.

“If it comes to a choice, I would support a tax over a tuition increase,” Dr. Johnson said.

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