Making the grade: Ohio colleges fail

Kate Bigam

A new report has confirmed what most students at Ohio’s colleges were already well aware of – tuition is too expensive.

“Measuring Up 2006,” a biennial report by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, grades all 50 states’ education programs on criteria such as preparation, participation, affordability and completion. For the third report in a row, Ohio has received an F in affordability.

According to the “Measuring Up 2006” Web site, “Ohio has made no notable progress in providing affordable higher education.” It was one of 43 states to receive an ‘F’ in affordability; no states received A’s or B’s.

In reference to the state’s low grade, Bret Crow, assistant director of communications for the Ohio Board of Regents, said, “We’re not alone, but we’re always working on affordability issues.”

In 2004’s report, 36 percent of a family’s income was needed to pay for one student’s education at a public institution in Ohio. The report said the figure has jumped to 42 percent, with the average Ohio student borrowing $3,552 in loans in 2005.

“Ohio has forever been a high-tuition state,” said David Creamer, senior vice president for administration. “To achieve economic and social goals, higher education has to become much less expensive for the students in every state.”

Creamer said Ohio has historically expected its students to bear more of the tuition burden than other states, but the current state of the economy has made that burden even greater.

Crow said the Board of Regents is always looking for ways to lower the cost of higher education for students. The state’s new financial aid program, the Ohio College Opportunity Grant, will make 11,000 additional students eligible for financial aid, although the program will not be fully implemented for another four years.

“We’re hoping that’s a way to help reduce some affordability issues that students face,” Crow said.

Students from families with mid-level incomes may not be eligible for the grant funding, but Crow said the Learn and Earn initiative, which will appear on the ballot in November, would be another way to make college more affordable. The initiative would provide student scholarships from state gambling revenues.

Although the movement toward more affordable tuition in Ohio is a slow one, Creamer said it is inevitable that politicians will recognize the importance of the issue.

“Do I think we’re going to get better soon?” Creamer said. “No. But do I think we’re going to get better at some point in the future? Yes.”

Contact administration reporter Kate Bigam at [email protected].


The report is in, and its message is clear – Ohio’s colleges aren’t very affordable. But Bret Crow, assistant communications director for the Ohio Board of Regents, said it is important to recognize that Ohio scored higher in three areas than it did in 2004.


2004: C+

2006: B-


2004: C+

2006: B-


2004: F

2006: F


2004: B

2006: B


2004: B-

2006: B+


2004: I

2006: I