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Ohio State recognized for affordability and efficiency efforts

The Ohio Department of Higher Education praised Ohio State’s efforts of affordability and efficiency in 2018. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Managing Editor for Design

Ohio State showed a continued commitment to affordability and efficiency in 2018, according to a report by the Ohio Department of Higher Education.

The department’s annual report praised Ohio State for its continued measures implemented under President Michael Drake to make attendance more affordable for students.

“Ohio State’s commitment to affordability goes hand in hand with our focus on operational excellence,” Interim Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Michael Papadakis said in a press release. “Every dollar that we save through efficiency measures is redirected back into our academic mission.”

According to the report, Ohio State reported $312.5 million invested in student financial aid in 2018 and $11.1 million more in “investments in tools related to affordability and efficiency,” via the Digital Flagship initiative.

The report also highlighted the Buckeye Opportunity Program, which was instituted for the 2018-19 academic year and covers the full cost of tuition for in-state Pell Grant recipients.

Drake has touted the program since its announcement in September 2017, and it has since been expanded to cover students at regional campuses along with those on the main campus.

“Our campuses throughout Ohio are vital to the ways we provide ever-increasing access to an affordable and excellent Buckeye education,” Drake said in a statement announcing the expansion in June. “Expanding our tuition-coverage program will help ensure even more Ohio families have the opportunity to advance their lives and communities through higher education.”

The report also praised the Operational Excellence at OSU program — a program within the Office of Business and Finance — that consults with colleges and administrative units and assists in projects for “operational excellence.”

“Since implementing The Ohio State University’s Operational Excellence program, OE@OSU’s projects have saved or avoided $41.2 million in costs and eliminated nearly 225,000 hours of non-value-added work,” the report said. “Achievements include reducing its fleet by 56 vehicles (17.7%), avoiding $3.5 million in acquisition cost, and providing operating savings of $740,000 annually.”

Further savings noted included moving primary or disaster recovery data centers to the State of Ohio Computer Center, savings from enrolling in summer classes and money saved by regional campuses sharing facilities with local institutions.

The report said $40 million was saved by using the SOCC computer space and $9.2 million was saved in 2018 by students utilizing summer classes via a 25 percent discount on summer tuition. The report also said that the Lima, Mansfield, Marion and Newark campuses have “collectively generated $5.4 million in savings through shared services with co-located institutions.”

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