Task Force Set To Overhaul State Higher Ed Funding

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A new task force could determine how higher education is funded in the state, and Ohio University's top administrator will have a seat at the table.

Ohio University President Roderick McDavis will help hammer out a proposed new funding formula for two- and four-year colleges and universities.
He and other college presidents met with the governor Tuesday.
"Right now, the formula has too much weight on enrollment and not on graduation, so if you can change the incentives and do it in a responsible way so we can transition to it, you will see a  change here," said Kasich.
Those at the table indicated the formula could emphasize graduation rates.
But, what does that mean for OU's bottom line?
Potentially more state dollars, McDavis says.
"One of the things we do know is that we've been working real hard to improve our retention rates, our graduation rates, and if the formula leans toward outputs, then I think we're  gonna be in a real good position in terms of getting funding," said McDavis.
Governor John Kasich says this new funding formula could lead to more career counseling, maybe even online, to make sure students are headed in the right direction. 
“This is all about the students. And it’s all about providing the best education as we can for as many students as possible so they can get good jobs and so employers have a great skilled workforce,” said Steve Johnson, president of Sinclair Community College, which is located in Dayton, Ohio.
President McDavis says the formula could push higher education forward in Ohio.
"If we have incentives that are financial, you know, that's the best way to get institutions to work harder on the types of results that are expected," said McDavis.
The task force hopes to have something on the governor's desk by Thanksgiving.
Nine members make up the commission.
Ohio State University President Gordon Gee will lead them.
“There is no other state that’s undergoing this kind of revolutionary reform in higher education.  It has to start with us collaboratively thinking through how we can best, in a time of limited resources…how we can create an environment in which we can be successful together. If we win, we win together. Failure is not an option,” said Gee.
Michael Locklear is a fellow at Ohio University's E.W. Scripps School of Journalism Statehouse News Bureau.