Fingerhut releases 10-year higher education plan

Jackie Valley

Ohio’s 13 public universities must identify what they deem their strongest programs by the end of 2008, according to the 10-year strategic plan released by Chancellor Eric Fingerhut today.

Once these programs are identified, universities must establish goals to maintain them as nationally recognized programs. Fingerhut, who presented his plan to Gov. Ted Strickland this morning, will base future funding decisions and recommendations off these approved “centers of excellence.”

In addition to improving quality, Fingerhut said his master plan focuses on increasing the number of Ohioans with higher education degrees. Education levels indicate how much money a person will earn during his or her lifetime, he said.

“Our future prosperity depends on the overall prosperity of its citizens,” Fingerhut said.

To do so, the plan addresses issues related to accessibility and affordability of higher education in Ohio. Several of the plan’s recommendations include:

n Make the out-of-pocket cost of attendance for a student living in Ohio among the lowest in the nation by 2017.

n Offer associate and bachelor’s degrees needed for economic advancement available within 30 miles of every Ohioan.

n Create a community college education for the Mahoning Valley by collaborations among Kent State, Youngstown State, Jefferson Community College and adult workforce centers.

n Allow every high school graduate in Ohio the option of being “dual admitted” to a community college and a public university if they meet the academic standards of each school.

To view the entire plan, visit

– Jackie Valley