IUC Position Statement
The Inter-University Council of Ohio has a long history of identifying and helping member institutions focus on public policy issues of common concern. To be successful in advancing its public policy agenda, the IUC must clearly establish and articulate its position on key issues to policymakers and other stakeholders. This list summarizes the IUC position on specific policy matters impacting higher education, as identified by member institutions. What follows is intended to increase the awareness of the role and value of public higher education in Ohio.
Not enough high school graduates are seizing the opportunity to participate in higher education opportunities available through Ohio’s public colleges and universities. Lack of preparation negatively impacts student access to a higher education. Lack of access, in turn, negatively impacts Ohio’s economic competitiveness. Academic preparation must be improved in order to successfully earn a post high school education.
The amount and availability of financial aid is an important factor in a potential student’s decision to pursue a quality higher education. The state-funded Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG) program provides students and families need-based assistance for and access to higher education. The IUC believes, however, that more financial aid is necessary to offset the rising costs of providing a quality education.
Too many students are starting but not finishing their higher education within the nationally-set benchmark of six years. Ohio’s high school graduation rate exceeds the national average by 7%, but its higher education completion rate is substantially below the national average. The IUC believes that success rates could be improved by establishing a competency-based system of articulation and transfer. Further, enhanced articulation and transfer processes are needed for returning students as well as traditional students. Students can monitor progress, know where they are, and how much is left to do. The IUC supports efforts to identify and utilize best practices to ensure that more of our entering students complete their degree.
Partnerships between public universities have expanded student access and success, as well as the creation of new jobs through business development, incubators, and technology initiatives. Collaboration is also necessary to contain costs, improve efficiencies, and eliminate duplication of services. The IUC believes that collaboration and communication among academic programs, researchers, libraries, and administrative managers at state institutions are an integral part of each Ohio institution’s standard operating procedures. The IUC is committed to creating new collaborations and strengthening those that already exist. Collaborations develop in a wide variety of forms including in state and out of state, between two- and four-year institutions of higher education, business and industry, and PK-12 education.
Quality in Higher Education:
The IUC believes it is important for state-supported institutions of higher education to provide a quality education. It is equally important for public institutions to demonstrate how any additional investment by the state could further enhance the quality of education. Quality can be addressed in a number of areas, including world-class instructors, researchers, academic programs, student support services, student achievement, and partnerships with business and industry.
Accountability in Higher Education:
Accountability helps improve performance and ensures that Ohio’s public universities are providing a quality higher education. Accountability measures will help parents, students, and policy leaders more easily determine if desired outcomes are being met. The IUC supports establishing accountability standards designed to measure higher expectations for efficiency, productivity, and improved results across the University System of Ohio.
University System of Ohio:
The IUC supports the establishment and mission of the University System of Ohio to provide programs designed to meet the needs of the 21st century and to provide affordable, high quality higher education opportunities for all Ohioans through a collaborative and cooperative environment among all institutions across the state. However, it is important to the IUC that a university’s Board of Trustees retains the authority to continue making the day-to-day business decisions. Trustees are familiar with the actual services being delivered on campus and the markets that the various universities serve.
Greater tuition pricing flexibility would allow universities to reduce the average cost of tuition for Ohioans and attract more students. Universities should be permitted to charge differential tuition to in-state undergraduate students. Consideration should be given to allowing universities to be entrepreneurial in their tuition structures.