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Ohio State reacts to Gov. John Kasich’s higher education reform


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Some Ohio State student leaders said Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s latest budget review’s proposal for higher education, such as giving college credit for military experience and working to keep international students in Ohio post-graduation, are initiatives worth pursuing.

The mid-biennium review is intended to update last year’s state budget and outline Kasich’s proposals for legislation for the next year.

The review came out last week, and it included various pieces of higher education reform, including starting efforts to keep Ohio’s international students in Ohio after graduation.

“To ensure that Ohio job creators can meet their workforce needs, the chancellor of the Board of Regents will create a globalization liaison to increase recruitment and enrollment of international students and to encourage them to remain in the state after graduation,” the review factsheet on higher education said.

Miranda Onnen, vice chair of the College Republicans and a third-year in political science and economics, said the talent and skills acquired at OSU or other state colleges and universities shouldn’t leave Ohio.

“Columbus was named the most intelligent city in the United States, and that trend of intelligence should continue. By encouraging college graduates to stay in Ohio, we can keep that intelligence going,” Onnen said.

Columbus was named one of the top seven intelligent communities in the world for 2014 by the Intelligent Community Forum in January.

College Democrats President Vince Hayden, a third-year in political science, said there should be an effort to keep international students in state because “tuition is heavily subsidized by state taxpayers.”

“If we’re going to educate people from all over the world and all over the United States, it’ll benefit Ohio’s economy if those people stay here in the state,” Hayden said.

International students, however, pay more tuition than in-state students. While in-state students pay $7,140 in tuition and fees for the academic year, international students owe $26,726 for the academic year, a sum that includes a $500 surcharge per term for international students.

That fee aims to provide additional resources for international students, according to the University Registrar website.

Giving veterans college credit for military training and experience was also a point listed in the review. A Military Transfer Assurance Guide would set the standard for granting college credit for that experience, according to the review.

Kasich addressed the idea in his State of the State speech Feb. 24.

“Whether it’s engineering, heavy machinery, construction, auto and truck repair or advanced technology, the U.S. Armed Forces trains more people, in more sophisticated ways, than probably any other organization in the world. That training has prepared veterans for many of Ohio’s most in-demand jobs, and letting them more easily put it to work helps ease their transition to the home front. It also helps make Ohio stronger,” he said.

Onnen said she supports the idea because there are other things that can earn college credit as well.

“We already give college credit for high school education like AP (Advanced Placement) and IB (International Baccalaureate) classes. Veterans get equally excellent training and education from the United States military. Correlating credit should definitely be given to veterans who want to go back to school,” Onnen said.

Hayden said, however, a lack of relevance of military experience to educational goals could be an issue.

“It all depends on what a person in the military is doing,” he said. For example, if a military policeman goes into criminal justice, it would make sense “because it applies what you learned,” Hayden said, but if that person was going into computer science, it doesn’t make as much sense.

Hayden said, as a veteran, efforts could be focused elsewhere.

“It’s a good idea, but I honestly think where Gov. Kasich could improve on veterans is having better opportunity for employment for veterans,” he said.

The review also included mention of a new funding formula that links state funding to graduation rates, rather than enrollment, something Kasich also spoke about in his recent address.

“Today I’m proud to announce that 100 percent of state funding for undergraduate students will be based on how well our colleges and universities do in guiding them to complete their courses and get their degrees. This puts the right incentives in place to cement the partnership between students and institutions in pursuit of the same goals — success in college and in getting a job,” he said.

Undergraduate Student Government President Taylor Stepp, a fourth-year in public affairs, said he agrees with that suggestion.

“Tying state funding to graduation just makes sense,” Stepp said.

Kasich selected then-OSU President E. Gordon Gee to help lead higher education in enacting the reforms in 2012.

Gee said in a February 2013 statement the change would reflect a “renewed focus on student success” and would “establish a new standard for the nation.”

Hayden, however, said there are good and bad things about the new system.

“The pro to that is the schools that do have great outcomes will be better off financially as far as state funding goes,” Hayden said.

The matter could negatively affect community colleges, though, he said.

“Community colleges don’t really have a good way of recording whether students just dropped out or whether they’ve transferred because it’s all kind of self-reported,” Hayden said.

Stepp said the review’s suggestions would “help create jobs and improve higher education.”

“It isn’t just young people that this proposal can appeal to either. This is a win for Ohio, and when Ohio does better, we all do better,” Stepp said.

Kasich said in his address the important thing is emphasizing lifelong education.

“We also think education is like, you know, preschool, and then it’s high school, and then maybe the two-year school or the four-year school. We have a different philosophy in Ohio,” Kasich said. “You must have lifetime learning.”

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