Bowling Green State University
WHY ARE THESE CHANGES HAPPENING NOW?
Ohio is at a critical point in its history. The economic downturns found nationwide are particularly severe in the state, which has been hit hard by the loss of manufacturing and other jobs, the slowdown in the auto industry, and the housing and bankruptcy crises, among other negative trends. Ohio is experiencing an overall loss of workers and is not attracting new talent.
Higher education can help prepare Ohioans for productive careers and reverse the downward spiral. It is estimated that if Ohio can produce 30 percent more bachelor’s degrees and increase the number of associate degrees, it will gain an additional $4 billion in income in 10 years—leading to greater consumer spending, a more robust economy and better quality of life for Ohioans.
Several stumbling blocks stand in the way. An assessment by the Ohio Board of Regents found that:
- Tuition at state colleges and universities is among the highest in the nation. Ohio ranks 49th in affordability.
- Too many Ohio citizens are not adequately prepared for college. More than a third of high school graduates must take remedial math and English in college.
- Ohio’s education system is well positioned for the 21st century, but institutions need to improve focus on their core strengths, prepare themselves to serve additional and more diverse students and increase collaboration to benefit all Ohioans.
A GLOBAL COMPARISON?
The implications of low educational attainment are serious not only for Ohio but for the nation as well. A report by the Lumina Foundation for Education quoted in the Cleveland Plain Dealer last March showed that:
- 33.6 percent of Ohioans ages 25-64 have degrees from two- or four-year institutions.
- 37.4 percent of U.S. adults ages 25-64 have degrees from two- or four-year institutions.
- 54 percent of Canadian adults ages 25-34 have two- or four-year degrees.
In a global economy, countries depend on college graduates to attract high-paying jobs. Ohio must regain its stature as a leader in education in order to remain competitive.