The following statement may attributed in whole or in part to Jack Hershey, the President and CEO of the Ohio Association of Community Colleges, in connection with the higher education reforms announced to be part of the FY16-17 executive budget proposal. The OACC represents the presidents and trustees of the state’s 23 community colleges and is largely considered the voice of Ohio’s community college movement. For more information on the OACC, please visit www.OhioCommunityColleges.Org
Ohio’s community college leaders pledge to work with Gov. John R. Kasich and state lawmakers on the common-sense higher-education reforms expected to be included in the executive version of the state’s two-year state budget.
The ability of Ohio’s community college students to be able to receive the Ohio College Opportunity Grant in the summers not only rightly partially restores access to this program for needy deserving students, but also encourages more students to move more quickly to complete their studies and move into the workforce. The OACC has long championed allowing public two-year students to once again have access to state needs-based aid.
The provisions that would encourage more high-school students to earn free college credit while still in high school, if enacted, would be groundbreaking public policy. It would allow high school students and their families to be able to save thousands of dollars on college costs and also help speed students’ time to achieving a degree.
And, the provisions that would allow community colleges to, in limited circumstances, step in and award bachelor’s degrees in applied fields would fulfill workforce needs identified by local employers in cases where public universities do not have the resources or ability to do so. This is a common-sense reform that the OACC supports. The OACC appreciates and values the strong partnership with our state’s public universities. While this situation has been contentious in other states, this partnership in Ohio has led to strong public policy that will help employers and students alike.
Director of Public Affairs
Ohio Association of Community Colleges