Letter to the Editor

Grace Goodluck

Dear Editor,

Ohio has recently been falling behind in how much the state invests in higher education. From 2006 to 2012, the state appropriation for higher education per student has declined by 30.9 percent, according to an issue brief from American Progress. The issue of higher education is one that is incredibly important in Ohio.

The lack of investment in higher education in Ohio is something that has personally affected me. I am a student at Kent State and very active in student organizations on campus. But since I’m from a low-income family, paying tuition at an “affordable” university has been a struggle. The summer before the fall semester, I did not know if I would be able to go back to school because my financial aid was not enough to cover the cost of tuition, and my parents — who were having financial problems due to job loss — certainly could not foot the bill. I took it upon myself to create a GoFundMe page, and luckily, through the use of social media, generous donors helped me cover the remaining amount. 

I was very lucky to have had people that were willing to help me, but as a hard-working student, it should have never been the case that I potentially could not attend school. Our state is failing in providing students with the opportunity to benefit from higher education. Enrollment has increased in our state universities, but in the 2011-2012 school year, students were awarded 43.9 percent less aid than they were 10 years prior, according to Policy Matters. This forces students to take out private loans with high interest rates or simply not continue their education. 

Our generation has always been told that higher education is the stepping-stone to a better life. Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren sums up this contradiction we are facing pretty well with a quote cited from the Huffington Post: “This country is saying ‘You need an education but good luck paying for it.’”

I believe in the idea that higher education is vital in becoming a successful, well-rounded and thoughtful adult. If Ohio believes in this idea as well, then we need to become serious about investing in students’ future. 

The Ohio State Legislature has to decide their budget by June 30. The budget the Ohio House has proposed includes $1.2 billion in net tax cuts, according to the Plain Dealer. I don’t agree with their and Gov. Kasich’s opinion that businesses are the ones in need of help. Ohio students are the ones in need of relief. If students are indeed our future, the state budget needs to be a reflection of that. 

The Ohio Senate Finance Higher Ed Subcommittee will be meeting the last week of April to discuss the budget. I urge you to contact these local committee members and ask them to reinvest in higher education: Capri Cafaro of District 32, (614) 466-7182 and Kevin Bacon of District 3, (614) 466-8064.

If you would like to get involved on campus, Ohio Student Association currently has a campaign involving higher education. Contact Ryan Kreaps at 304-488-1221 or email [email protected], or follow us on twitter @OSAKent

I do not think it is naive to believe in these words, and investing in education is the first step we can take to change the world.

Grace Goodluck is a sophomore political science major.