Governor John Kasich and Univeristy President Michael Drake speak at a press conference on Nov. 28. Credit: Dan Smyth | Lantern Reporter

Ohio Gov. John Kasich unveiled his two-year budget proposal on Monday. The Republican’s proposal totals $71.5 billion, with $5.37 billion dedicated to higher education.

If adopted, the proposal would impose a tuition freeze at all public universities and colleges in Ohio. The call to freeze tuition for higher education comes just after University President Michael Drake told The Lantern that he couldn’t commit to a freeze at this point. Ohio State has frozen in-state, undergraduate tuition the past five years.

We recognize that these are tough budgetary times, and we are reviewing the specifics of this proposed budget and will be sharing Ohio State’s perspective in the legislative process,” university spokesman Chris Davey said in an email. “We are focused on working together to support access, affordability and excellence in higher education.

The proposal also includes a plan to cut the cost of textbooks, which will require all public colleges and universities to cover the costs, but allows them to charge students $300 to offset that cost. The idea is that the $300 will be cheaper than what students spend on their own.

Kasich’s plan also calls for a new study of tying post-graduate income to student-loan repayments to determine if it’s are a viable option to relieve student debt.

The plan wasn’t without its critics, however, such as State Rep. Adam Miller, a Democrat from Marble Cliff.

“We need something more robust,” Miller said. “We need to give universities more flexibility with out-of-state tuition.”

The budget proposal will be considered when the Ohio General Assembly crafts its budget, which will then go to Kasich to sign.