Ohio’s public universities deliver high-impact, high-value education

A recent statewide poll of likely voters affirmed that a large majority of Ohioans recognize and appreciate the high-impact, high-value benefits of our state’s system of public universities.

Commissioned by the Inter-University Council of Ohio, the poll revealed strong statewide support for Ohio’s four-year public universities, despite highly publicized concerns about the cost of a college degree:

87 percent say it’s important for Ohio to have a top-rate university system.

82 percent say the quality of education at Ohio’s public universities is as good as, or better than, the quality of others nationally.

85 percent agree that a four-year degree from a public university in Ohio prepares students for a good job in today’s economy.

And 87 percent think university research creates inventions, products and technologies that improve our quality of life.

In other words, our public universities play a big role in fulfilling the aspirations of Ohioans and their families.

Informed by the poll results, Ohio’s 14 public universities are launching a statewide communication campaign called “Forward Ohio.” The purpose of the campaign is to raise public awareness of the value of public higher education, including:

We help Ohioans prosper. In today’s economy, a university degree will help you secure your first career opportunity, advance in your current career, or transition to a new one.

We spur Ohio’s economy. University research and development, technology transfer and commercialization activities help drive Ohio’s innovation economy.

We tackle society’s toughest issues. Basic university research improves our lives and the world.

We develop Ohio’s workforce.

We work to keep college affordable.

At YSU, we have made great strides in all areas.

We have introduced many programs aimed at keeping college affordable and helping YSU students graduate on time, including expanded bulk-rate tuition, a new guaranteed four-year tuition program and a new Jump Start program that allows incoming freshmen to take half-price summer classes.

At the same time, we have put into place several initiatives to help improve Ohio’s workforce, including the new Mahoning Valley Innovation and Commercialization Center under development just south of campus.

And, for more than a decade, YSU has partnered with the Youngstown City Schools to operate Youngstown Early College, a program that allows city students to earn college credit while attending high school right here on campus. (Note that, starting next school year, YEC will be located in the former administrative building on Wick Avenue, adjacent to campus.) YEC has been honored nationally for its impact on increasing attendance and graduation rates and for giving students a head start on their college careers.

The presidents of Ohio’s public universities invite you to visit the “Forward Ohio” campaign website, www.forwardohio.org. You’ll find additional highlights from the public opinion poll, facts and about higher education and inspiring stories of personal growth, invention, creativity and collaboration.

High impact, high value. That’s where the return on investment begins for consumers of public higher education.

James P. Tressel is president of Youngstown State University.

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