18:35 PM

President Johnson advocates for Ohio State in state budget testimony

In message to higher education subcommittee, Johnson urges support for student and university programs

State lawmakers continue hearings on Ohio’s proposed two-year, $75 billion state budget this week. Ohio State University President Kristina M. Johnson offered her advice on the sections of the bill that affect the university to the House Finance Subcommittee on Higher Education.

In written testimony, the university’s 16th president acknowledged the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the state’s budget and thanked Gov. Mike DeWine and lawmakers for the commitment to higher education.

“The operating budget before you is an important component for Ohio’s higher education institutions as we produce more and more graduates who are eager to make their marks in the world and have the skills they need for the jobs of tomorrow that will power Ohio’s economy in the 21st century,” she wrote.

Johnson reported to the committee that the university has been open for in-person learning since autumn 2020 and plans to expand campus activity in the fall. She said the university remains committed to delivering an affordable education to develop graduates who will meet the demands of the state’s future workforce.

“For example, the newly minted bachelor of science in engineering technology degree will help Ohio businesses fill plant manager roles with specific needed skillsets,” she wrote.

Johnson advocated for some modifications to the budget to support the university’s mission. She requested that funding for State Share of Instruction (SSI), the main source of legislative support to Ohio State for operating costs associated with teaching and learning, increase by the rate of inflation each year of the two-year budget. The proposed budget would increase the SSI subsidy by 1.0% in the first year and 0.9% in the second year of the biennium.

The proposed budget includes an increase of $500 per eligible student in the Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG) program over two years. Johnson asked lawmakers to provide OCOG eligible students a $500 increase in each of the two fiscal years.

Johnson requested that funding for the university’s Cooperative Extension program and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) remain at current levels, and also recommended current-level support for the Ohio Sea Grant Program, which works to protect Lake Erie and coastal resources in the state.

Johnson also requested that funding for clinical teaching and clinic support programs remain at current levels.

Finally, Johnson asked for continued public support for the university’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Johnson noted more than 80% of practicing veterinarians in Ohio graduated from the college.

“I would remind the committee The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine is the only vet med college in Ohio, and I ask that you retain this appropriation,” she explained.

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