OHIO Proposed budget would squeeze 4 -year colleges, aid 2-year schools
Eleven of the 15 two-year community colleges would get more funding.
COLUMBUS (AP) -- The state's four-year colleges would be squeezed while two-year community colleges would be rewarded under Gov. Bob Taft's proposed two-year budget, a shift that troubles university administrators.
"This, of course, reflects what I refer to as the perversity of the funding formula," said University of Akron President Luis Proenza.
Higher education would get about $1.56 billion in each of the next two budget years under Taft's proposal, about the same amount it receives this year. But more of the money would be shifted to community colleges, where enrollments are on the rise.
Nine of the state's 13 public universities would lose money, while 11 of its 15 two-year community colleges would get more money under a state funding formula that rewards enrollment increases.
"No matter if the university is growing, if anyone is growing faster than you are, then you lose money," Proenza said.
The state's lawmakers must approve a budget by June 30. Hearings on Taft's proposal begin Monday.
The Ohio Board of Regents expected money to be shifted to schools with fast-growing enrollments, but requested a smaller shift to protect the larger universities.
"Some of these four-year universities have enrollment caps or limits, and they are full," said regents spokesman Jamie Abel. "That's the case at Bowling Green. They are a residential campus and have but so many beds."
Bowling Green, Central State and Miami University would each lose 5 percent of their state funding next year, the maximum allowed. Central State and Shawnee State also will get smaller subsidies for serving under-represented populations in higher education.
Proenza said the situation will force universities to increase tuition.
YSU and Miami
During his State of the State address, Taft called for a 6 percent cap on tuition increases. University presidents doubt that is practical. Youngstown State and Miami already have announced 9 percent increases for the next school year.
"If the total cost of providing that education is at the national average and state support is hugely below the national average, what does that mean?" Proenza said.
Ohio has 47,403 more full-time college students than it did four years ago, but state funding has remained about the same, according to the Board of Regents.
"We're teaching that many more students for the same amount of dollars," Abel said.