Courtesy of MCT
Not resting “on our laurels” was the theme of Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s State of the State speech.
During his Tuesday address in Lima, Ohio, Kasich highlighted his plan to set state funding for Ohio’s four-year and two-year public colleges on graduation rates in place of enrollment rates and called university presidents who have worked on this plan “heroes.”
“We want kids to graduate, that is something they stuck their necks out on,” he said.
The higher education reforms were announced in Kasich’s two-year budget released earlier this month. The higher education changes were recommended by the Higher Education Funding Commission, which is chaired by OSU President E. Gordon Gee.
“A lot of places in this country, they cut this higher education. We love higher education,” he said.
The plan presented will award 50 percent of state funds to universities based upon the percentage of students who complete degrees, with 28.2 percent for course completion. Under the current formula, 20 percent of funds are awarded for degree completion and 58.2 are for course completion. A 2 percent per-year tuition cap for Ohio’s public colleges was also instated.
OSU Media Relations released a statement on the State of the State address Tuesday evening, where Gee commended Kasich’s “bold plan” for moving Ohio’s economy forward.
“While many states are reducing funding for colleges, Gov. Kasich has shown he understands that higher education is the engine driving long-term economic development in this state. We welcome the governor’s support of higher education and echo his call to better prepare students for the future by tying state funding to degree completion,” Gee said in the release. “This enlightened approach to funding for Ohio’s universities and colleges will lead us to greater collaboration while setting a new course for public higher education across this great state.”
Spokesman for the OSU College Republicans Niraj Antani said that while he didn’t watch the speech on Tuesday, he read the written text that was released Monday. He said the opportunity gave Kasich the chance to talk about his new budget plan to the entire state, and he thinks the higher education reforms will have a positive impact on the state.
“Right now, universities have no incentive to make students graduate,” he said.
The funding incentive will “encourage them to make sure students graduate with a degree,” he said.
Members of the OSU College Democrats were unavailable for comment Tuesday evening.
Kasich also highlighted job growth and budget surplus that Ohio has seen since he was elected in 2010.
Kasich said Ohio is No. 1 in job creation in the Midwest and No. 6 nationwide and has been successful because “you can never spend more than what you take in,” Kasich said.
The number of state employees has been reduced to its lowest number in 30 years under his administration, Kasich said, and unemployment rates are lower in Ohio than they are nationally.
However, Kasich said Ohio can do more.
“We can’t rest on our gains, we haven’t taped all our potential,” he said.
People are noticing the changes in Ohio, Kasich said, and the state is a national leader.
“We need to have America follow us because I think they’re beginning to and I think one day, they may even join us here in the great state of Ohio,” he said.
Cutting taxes on small businesses by 50 percent and cutting income tax by 20 percent will allow jobs to prosper in Ohio, he said.
“The only thing that can stop is the fear of big ideas,” he said.
Kasich also talked about K-12 education reform, Medicaid and energy production.
The speech, traditionally held in Columbus, was moved last year to Steubenville, Ohio. Kasich is the first Ohio governor to hold the event outside the capital city.