Kent State sees biggest boost under Kasich's budget plan

By Thomas Gallick | Staff Writer Published:

Kent State University would receive $5 million more in funding from the state of Ohio in the next fiscal year under a budget proposal announced by Gov. John Kasich last week, the largest percentage increase among the main campuses of the state's 13 public universities.

According to an estimate from the Ohio Board of Regents, Kasich's proposal would increase the amount of State Share of Instruction funding, which represents the bulk of the financial support from the state to public universities, at KSU from about $96.7 million in fiscal year 2013 to about $101.8 million in fiscal year 2014. That proposal represents an increase of 5.3 percent.

Overall spending on state share of instruction is proposed to grow from $1.75 billion to $1.78 billion, an increase of 1.9 percent.

KSU President Lester Lefton said the university's success in Kasich's biennial budget proposal, dubbed "The Jobs Budget 2.0," highlighted KSU's potential impact on the state's economy.

"Gov. Kasich clearly understands the important role higher education plays in the economic revitalization of Ohio and our nation," Lefton said. "We appreciate that the governor continues to prioritize higher education. The Kent State community is committed to student success and helping our students graduate."

In his budget proposal, Kasich said the funding changes represent a move toward what he calls "performance-based higher education funding," in which 50 percent of a school's state funding is based on degree completion and graduation rates. Kasich has also proposed capping tuition increases at 2 percent per year in the next two years.

Funding for Northeast Ohio Medical University in Rootstown, which serves as the medical school for KSU and Northeastern Ohio's other public universities, would increase from more than $15.1 million to just under $15.5 million. NEOMED President Jay Gershen said he was pleased with the proposal, and echoed Lefton's opinion that public education can drive job creation in the state.

"I strongly support the efforts to align state funding for higher education with the state's economic development goals," Gershen said. "Higher education plays a significant role in producing high-quality graduates to meet the state's economic needs to secure the future of Ohio."

Cleveland State University would receive a 5.1 percent increase in State Share of Instruction under the budget, the second biggest increase among four-year universities. Ohio State University would see a 3.1 percent increase, while the University of Cincinnati would see a 2.4 percent increase.

Five universities, the University of Akron, Bowling Green State University, Central State University, Shawnee State University and the University of Toledo, will see reductions in state share of instruction under the proposal.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1126 or tgallick@recordpub.com

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