John Kasich’s New Budget Can Affect Future KSU Students

Kate Murphy

With the announcement of his $63.3-billion two-year budget plan Monday, Gov. John Kasich launched a new funding formula for higher education that places a stronger emphasis on graduation, among other performance-based reforms.

The formula, unveiled last year, changes how the state calculates its contribution per student to state colleges and universities.

The proposed budget also includes these key elements:

*Lowers the state sales tax rate from 5.5 percent to 5 percent

*Imposes a sales tax for services, such as lawyers, lobbyists and accountants

*Cuts individual income tax by 20 percent over the next three years

*Cuts the tax rate for small business by 50 percent over the next three years

*Supports the expansion of Medicaid under the federal health care law, potentially providing coverage to half a million uninsured Ohioans

*Revises the state’s K-12 school funding, and delivers $1.2 billion to districts over two years

Information from the Associated Press.

Highlights include:

*Half of the state’s contribution will be awarded based on how many students finish their degree.

*The proposal removes the “Stop-Loss,” a mechanism through which the state mitigated funding losses at poor-performing institutions.

*It also removes some funds historically set aside, and redistributes them using the new formula.

*Instead of providing funding at community and technical colleges based on course enrollment, the state shifts its focus to course completion.

*The state will review an existing program called the Success Point incentive system to ensure it also focuses on course and degree completion.

The State Share of Instruction, part of its contribution to state universities, will increase by 1.9 percent to $1.78 billion in fiscal year 2014 and by 1.9 percent in fiscal year 2015 to a total of $1.82 billion, according to Ohio’s Office of Budget and Management website. (

“The total overall has not changed much from the previous year,” said Curtis Reynolds, associate professor of economics. “What has changed is how the money is handed out. The pie is not bigger and the pie is not smaller. [Kasich] is changing how the pie should be divvied up.”

The emphasis of funding will be on completion rates rather than enrollment rates. There are positive and negative sides to this change, Reynolds said.

“This could possibly encourage students to do better in school and focus on graduation,” he said. “However, this does encourage Kent [State] to be more restrictive on high school applicants. It also does nothing to guarantee there will be better educating. This could just mean that professors will push students through college with whatever means necessary to just improve graduation rates.”

The War Orphans Scholarship, National Guard Scholarship, Choose Ohio First Scholarship and Ohio College Opportunity Grant all receive appropriation increases under the new proposed budget, which still must be approved by the state legislature before being finalized.

Eric Mansfield, executive director of media relations, said Kent State stands behind Kasich.

“We support Governor Kasich’s goal of seeing more students complete their education and earn a degree,” Mansfield said. “Kent State already boasts a strong graduation rate, so we will look to rise to the challenge of helping more students reach the finish line not just because of the funding tied to completion, but because it’s the right thing to do for our students and for Ohio.”

Kate Murphy is a city reporter for the Daily Kent Stater.

Contact Kate Murphy at [email protected].