Ohio could learn from others’ solutions

It seems Ohio could do with following the state to its west’s example.

The Associated Press reported Tuesday that Indiana has a plan that could help keep the state’s young adults in the state for college and after college.

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels proposed “Hoosier Hope Scholarships” during his Jan. 16 State of the State speech.

With the program, the state would offer students $20,000 in scholarships over four years. That’s $5,000 a year to attend an in-state school.

The catch is that students would have to stay in-state for at least three years after graduation. If they didn’t, the money would have to be repaid.

Under Daniels’ proposal, the state would outsource its lottery for 30 years, in exchange for an up-front payment of $1 billion and subsequent payments. Some money would go toward the scholarships, while the rest would be used to attract faculty to state universities.

But that’s not what this editorial board is concerned with. We aren’t going to debate the logistics of the “Hoosier Hope Scholarships,” because it’s so early in the stage of the program’s proposal.

What we are concerned with is that Indiana is actually trying to do something to improve school affordability. On top of that, the program would keep people in the state after they graduate.

Ohio should look into something similar.

For one, Ohio’s universities are some of the most expensive in the nation.

Kent State’s tuition is $4,215 this semester for undergraduate state residents. That’s not even counting room and board fees.

Spending four years (eight semesters) at the university will cost about $34,000 in tuition alone. If $20,000 could be taken off the top…well, you get the point.

Indiana’s solution could also help Ohio keep its students around after graduation.

According to a performance report released by the Ohio Board of Regents on Jan. 18, one quarter of Ohio’s 2005 graduates left the state.

While this may not sound alarming to some, the number of students leaving rose 3 percent from 2004 to 2005. The report adds that, “Ohio lags the United States in higher educational attainment.”

If Ohio had a program similar to what Indiana’s governor has proposed, in-state retention would surely rise.

Although 75 percent of all college graduates stay in Ohio, only 72 percent of those with bachelor’s degrees stay in-state. Eighty-seven percent of all students with associate degrees stay in-state.

Sounds good, right?

The really alarming statistics are the number of doctoral and medical students who stay in Ohio: Only 63 percent (doctoral) and 51 percent (medical).

Though college affordability is an important issue, the lack of highly attractive jobs in Ohio is what is truly alarming.

Ohio has to find a way to keep higher-profile graduates in-state.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board, whose members are listed on the left.