18:35 PM

Ohio’s public universities seek to close attainment gap

Forward Ohio campaign highlights higher ed’s role in economy and society

Forward Ohio

Ohio’s 14 public universities, including The Ohio State University, are launching a statewide campaign designed to raise awareness of the value of public higher education and spur efforts to close the state’s increasing higher education attainment gap. To accomplish this goal, the effort, called Forward Ohio, seeks to mobilize public support for enhanced investment in public higher education and ensure that it is a public policy imperative for state government.

Forward Ohio has been created by the Inter-University Council of Ohio, an alliance of Ohio’s 14 public universities. The campaign will run throughout 2018. 

“When I ask individuals if they want their own children to attend college, the answer is, overwhelmingly, yes,” said President Michael Drake in a recent column. “The evidence is clear. College graduates are more likely to be employed and more likely to earn more than those without degrees. Studies also indicate that people with college degrees have higher levels of happiness and engagement, better health and longer lives.”

According to the Ohio Department of Higher Education, studies indicate that about 66 percent of jobs in Ohio in 2025 will require postsecondary certificates or above. Currently, just 44 percent of working age Ohioans have these credentials.

Ohio State’s strategic focus on access, affordability and excellence delivers value to the state and to students:

In January, Drake announced an expansion of the university’s commitment to make college more affordable and accessible for students – the addition of $40 million in need-based aid for the 2018-2019 academic year. That includes $25 million to the President’s Affordability Grant program. Funding for the grants comes from administrative efficiencies.

In September 2017, the university announced plans to ensure that all in-state students who qualify for Pell Grants – a key federal program for students with financial need – receive an aid package that covers the full cost of tuition and mandatory fees. The new program is in effect for qualifying new, existing and transfer students on the Columbus campus in fall 2018.

Forward Ohio’s Information Portal – www.forwardohio.org – offers more details on the campaign, the importance of closing the attainment gap and the value that public universities provide to the state.