Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Few Thoughts on Taxing Students

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has gained some notoriety recently for a new idea in government reform: taxing college students. In an effort to scrounge money for its local government status quo, Pittsburgh's Mayor Luke Ravenstahl had pushed to adopt a head tax for local students that would be added to their college bill.

Actually, it was not a new idea. Providence, Rhode Island's mayor had the same idea earlier in the year. That effort ended in stalemate.

While Pittsburgh's mayor has pulled back from that plan while he negotiates additional "voluntary" contributions from local colleges and universities, Pandora's Box may well now be open. Bad ideas, like good ones, can spread.

Being immediately over the western horizon, Mayor Ravehstahl's idea wouldn't have far to travel to hurt Ohio's college students. Encarnita Pyle reported last week in the Columbus Dispatch that such an idea is unlikely to gain traction in our state. I think she's right, but for reasons beyond what she suggested.

Ms. Pyle's sources talked about the importance of higher education to the state. That is true, but most tax advocates agree that higher education is important. They argue that colleges place burdens on local communities that are not offset by revenues, especially since nonprofit and state government colleges do not pay property taxes. Putting aside the property taxes paid by students, faculty, staff, and landlords for their residences, and the other massive economic impacts of colleges in any city, in Ohio the support for localities goes even farther.

Ohio's communities have the ability to impose income taxes, and do so. The highest local tax rate is a full one-third of the state and local taxes paid for any Ohioans making less than $200,000 per year. In many smaller towns, Ohio independent colleges are the largest source of municipal and school-district income-tax revenues.

Those same communities also receive other direct benefits, as do cities and towns across the nation. In some cases, university police forces agree to patrol portions of a jurisdiction, both for the benefit of the residents and to apportion the costs of law enforcement to the higher education institution.

Cities and towns also receive other benefits from colleges that translate into real money benefits. Colleges create safe communities, with higher property values and generally lower crime. Universities make substantial contributions of services by faculty, staff, and students. These range from food drives to voter registration to care for the elderly to teaching assistance in local elementary schools.

Colleges also help maintain stable communities. Ohio knows what abandoned municipalities look like. We have them in sizes ranging from large to small—towns and cities where the industry of old died or left. Yet look at places where higher education helps preserve the economic lifeblood of the town. Dayton's vitality is intimately tied to the University of Dayton. Franciscan University of Stuebenville anchors that community since the demise of most of the great Weirton works across the river. To understand what these communities would look like without an anchor higher education institution, one need only look elsewhere in our state.

Universities are a source of culture in their communities, which is especially important in an era where such funding is been deeply cut by states, localities, and business supporters. They also attract business. Indeed, part of our own state government's emphasis on supporting higher education is based on the deep link between a strong higher education sector and economic development in modern economies.

The rich irony in Pittsburgh, as it would be in Ohio, is that municipalities and the state spend enormous energy trying to attract for-profit companies by abating taxes and giving credits for local worker income taxes. To raise taxes on students while giving money to corporate shareholders would be incredibly shortsighted, but it would also be stunningly unjust.

Some of the same arguments have been raised to introduce PILOTs (Payments In Lieu Of Taxes) to Ohio. Policy Matters Ohio was contracted by the Cuyahoga County Treasurer to look at PILOTs for local hospitals. Their analysis concluded: a) other jurisdictions tax nonprofit hospitals; and b) if Cleveland did so, it would generate a great deal of money.

Of course, this argument misses two important points. First, nonprofits, including hospitals, colleges, and others provide communities with huge direct and indirect benefits, which are discounted by PILOT and head-tax advocates. (Indigent care comes immediately to mind for the targets of the Policy Matters Ohio study, for example.)

Second, in Ohio, local income taxes are often imposed, which generate comparable revenues to PILOTS in the Northeast. Providence, Rhode Island, which attempted to impose a student head tax, has PILOTs now, like many New England communities. Notably, those communities do not have local income taxes.

There are several other reasons Ohio communities shouldn't adopt student head taxes or PILOTs. In setting tax policy, every community weighs who ultimately pays the tax. Hotel taxes are paid by non-residents. Alcohol and tobacco taxes are paid by drinkers and smokers. Student head taxes and PILOTs are ultimately paid by students. Considering that most students take loans to complete college, the reality is that any new PILOT or head tax will be turned into student debt, mostly for young people under age 23 and working adults who are trying to complete a degree.

In other words, students are either earning very little money and are having their taxes increase, or are about to enter the workforce, typically at lower levels of income. Student head taxes are essentially a regressive taxation system, taxing those with less income for the benefit of those with more.

In addition, increased costs discourage higher education participation. Ohio elected officials proudly touted the public college tuition freeze in 2007's state budget, and attempted to maintain a freeze this year. Yet the difference between the freeze and a typical four percent tuition increase at an Ohio public four-year college is less than the proposed tax in Pittsburgh, which was about $400.

Ohio policy makers claimed that the tuition freeze would encourage enrollment. I would suggest that if a few hundred dollars matters enough to freeze tuition, it certainly matters enough not to raise taxes.

This summer, we learned in late July how much aid to independent college students would be cut. The timing was unusual because it was after student aid packages were mailed in the spring. Cuts were as high as $3,000, which most colleges could not make up. One president of an Ohio college told me his institution of about 2,000 students lost over five dozen students after and because of those unexpected aid cuts.

One final thought for local officials that might support a student head tax: people and institutions can vote with their feet, especially in the modern Internet era. Aside from not attending college, students can go elsewhere. One of Ohio's strengths is its constellation of colleges and universities—public and independent. Students are free to choose other Ohio and non-Ohio alternatives. At the margin, increased costs push students elsewhere.

As importantly, college homes are not permanent. Many people don't know that both Pepper Pike's Ursuline College and Canton's Malone University used to be in downtown Cleveland. Their reasons for moving had nothing to do with taxes, but move they did several decades ago.

The real risk for communities is not that colleges will pick up and go, but that they will evolve away. Opening a new pharmacy school or school of graduate education? A college can just move over the relevant jurisdictional line. Expanding to on-line programs? Create a new campus/server-farm in a faceless suburban office park outside the reach of the head tax.

Tax supporters will say things like, "they'll never move." They have too much tied to this place, or these buildings, or 'our' community. In most cases, that's true. But I speak from personal experience. I graduated from the University of Denver College of Law. Through the 1980's, the law school was downtown, across the street from the City and County Building. After the closure of Colorado Women's College, the campus moved to what is now the Denver campus of Johnson & Wales University, just south of the former Stapleton International Airport. A few years after my graduation, it moved to its present location.

If this same move happened from an original location in downtown Cleveland, it would be no different than moving to Lakewood, and then moving again to Westlake. In Columbus, think downtown Columbus to Upper Arlington to Dublin. Or Cincinnati City Hall, to North College Hill, to Wyoming.

The head tax idea will probably never make it across the Columbiana county line. But it's well worth know why it shouldn't in addition to why it won't.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Malone Cops NAIA Men’s Cross Country Title, Other Fall Tournament Results

With this past weekend’s completion of the collegiate fall sports championships — the so-called Bowl Championship Series merely lays a claim on the name — here is a summary of national tournament results featuring AICUO member institutions.

Malone takes third consecutive NAIA men’s cross country title
This fall’s national title for AICUO belongs to the Malone men’s cross country team, which won the NAIA championship meet, held November 21 in Vancouver, Wash. This victory marks the third consecutive and fourth overall championship won by the Pioneers.

Detailed results for each qualifying team are linked in the scores below. Thanks to our campus sports information offices for making these reports available on line.

Cross Country
1. Malone
19. Cedarville
21. Rio Grande

3. Malone
6. Cedarville

NCAA Division III
18. Heidelberg
32. Mount Union

15. Case Western Reserve
23. Oberlin
29. Baldwin-Wallace


NCAA Division I
1st Round
Dayton 0, Marquette 0 (Dayton won on penalty kicks, 4-3)

2nd Round
Virginia Tech 3, Dayton 1

NCAA Division II
1st Round
Lewis 2, Ashland 1

NCAA Division III
1st Round
Otterbein 1, Frostburg State 0
Denison 2, Transylvania 0

2nd Round
Otterbein 1, Denison 0

3rd Round
Messiah 1, Otterbein 0 (2 OT)

1st Round
Transylvania 2, Capital 1
Medaille 3, Denison 0
Brockport 1, Ohio Northern 1 (Brockport won on penalty kicks, 5-3)

1st Round
Rio Grande 2, Columbia (Mo.) 1
Notre Dame 3, Benedictine 1

2nd Round
Rio Grande 4, Biola (Calif.) 0
The Master’s (Calif.) 3, Notre Dame 1

National Semifinal
The Master’s 0, Rio Grande 0 (The Master’s won on penalty kicks, 7-6)

Field Hockey

NCAA Division III
1st Round
Lebanon Valley 9, Wittenberg 0


NCAA Division I
1st Round
Dayton 3, Wisconsin-Milwaukee 2
2nd Round
Illinois 3, Dayton 1

NCAA Division III
1st Round
North Central (Ill.) 3, Heidelberg 1
Mount Union 3, Lebanon Valley 2
Ohio Northern 3, Bluffton 1
Calvin 3, Wittenberg 0

2nd Round
Juniata 3, Mount Union 1
Ohio Northern 3, North Central (Ill.) 1

Regional Final
Hope 3, Ohio Northern 1

Opening Round
Indiana Tech 3, Walsh 1

--Bob Burke

Mount Union Falls in NCAA Championship Game

Despite a second-half comeback that tied the game early in the 4th period, Mount Union yielded two scores in the final 1:17 to come up short in the NCAA Division III football championship game, losing 38-28 to Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Quarterback Kurt Rocco, injured in the semifinal round, returned to throw for three touchdowns and run for a fourth, but two 4th-period turnovers halted the Raiders’ momentum. When Whitewater’s Levell Coppage ran 31 yards for the game-winning touchdown, Mount Union could not answer in the time remaining.

The loss ends Mount Union’s 29-game winning streak, which included last year’s national championship. The Raiders conclude their 2009 season with a 14-1 record.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

UD Grad Gets Elected Down Under

Typically, AICUO will feature and congratulate newly elected state and federal officials on here, but recently a UD graduate was elected as Premier of New South Wales, Australia's largest state. Premier Kristina Keneally was born in the United States to an Australian mother and an American father. She graduated from the University of Dayton in 1991 and again in 1995 with degrees in political science and religious studies respectively. Her progression to Premiership started when she was elected to Parliament in 2003 and Minister of Ageing and Minister of Disability in 2007.

AICUO would like to extend a global congratulations to our Aussie friend and wish her the best in her newest post.

To read more about Premier Keneally and New South Wales click here.

- Dustin A. Holfinger

Flyer Fund Flying High

Students at the University of Dayton's Davis Center for Portfolio Management have had a unique opportunity. They have been placed in charge of a nearly $11 million investment portfolio, a portion of the university's endowment fund. The Flyer Investments Team's track record for success caught the eye of CNBC in November and NBC Nightly News recently aired a story featuring the 15 undergrads. Click HERE to see the whole story.

- Dustin A. Holfinger

Monday, December 14, 2009

Mount Union Reaches NCAA Division III Football Championship Game — Again

Defending NCAA Division III national football champion Mount Union returns for the fifth straight year to the national championship game following its 24-7 victory over Wesley (Del.) in a semifinal game played Dec. 12.

The championship game, called the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl, kicks off at 11 a.m. Saturday in Salem, Va.

Making its their 13th overall visit to the championship game, Mount Union will meet Wisconsin-Whitewater, its opponent each of the last four years. A victory would give the Raiders their 11th championship, their fourth in five years and its seventh since 2000.

While tickets for the game Saturday are on sale through Wednesday on the Mount Union campus in Alliance, you can stay home and watch the game on ESPN2 starting at 11 a.m.

-- Bob Burke

NPR Sports Program Highlights Champion Kenyon Swimmers

The athletic programs at Ohio independent colleges succeed nationally in more than just football. This weekend, “Only a Game,” a Saturday morning sports program on National Public Radio hosted by Curry College Professor Bill Littlefield, featured the Kenyon College national swimming champions as they prepare for a new season.

--Bob Burke

Monday, December 7, 2009

Mount Union Earns NCAA Football Semifinal Berth; Wittenberg Ousted

The NCAA Division III football tournament continues this weekend with just one AICUO member still participating.

After a 400-plus mile road trip to Whitewater, Wis., Wittenberg fell to its host, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, by a 31-13 score. The Tigers trailed by a single point at halftime, but lost its starting quarterback to injury near the intermission. Wittenberg ends its season with a 12-1 record.

In Alliance, Mount Union, the defending national champion, hammered visiting Albright (Pa.), 55-3, to continue to the national semifinals.

In this Saturday's semifinal the unbeaten Purple Raiders host Wesley (Del.) at noon.

The winner continues to the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl in Salem, Va., on December 19, to play the winner of the Wisconsin-Whitewater v. Linfield (Ore.) semifinal. Three of the four semifinalists are independent colleges.

—Bob Burke

Friday, December 4, 2009

AICUO at the Statehouse

For those visiting Columbus, I highly recommend a visit to the new Statehouse museum. The museum has been open for several months, and even though I spend a great deal of time in the Statehouse, yesterday was the first opportunity I have had to spend a few minutes to view the exhibits.

There are solid displays about the nature of our state government, how the legislative process works, and other things you would expect to see in a good state capital museum. For a political junkie like myself, I certainly enjoyed seeing the charmingly dated television commercials (Gov. Celeste on the stump), the straw hats, and other goodies from the campaign trail.

As AICUO president, however, the biggest surprise was just as I left. The museum itself is in an awkward space in the Statehouse basement. The designers used the unusual curved, overhead walls to display oversized images of campaign buttons. I hadn't noticed this until I started to walk out of the exhibits. It was then that I saw a little bit of AICUO preserved for the future.

Above is the picture of State Representative Larry Christman's campaign button. For those that don't know, Larry was a four-term state representative and former chairman of the higher education finance subcommittee. He then later served 22 years as the president of AICUO. For those who know Larry, and those who want to learn more about state government, a few minutes at the Statehouse Museum is a pleasant diversion.

—C. Todd Jones

Monday, November 30, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

Wittenberg, Mount Union Advance in NCAA Football Playoff

After Saturday’s action, Mount Union and Wittenberg enter the Ohio college football spotlight as each hosts a second-round game in the NCAA Division III football championships this coming weekend.

After defeating fellow AICUO member Mount St. Joseph 42-14, Wittenberg faces Trine (Ind.), who eliminated AICUO member Case Western Reserve 51-38.

Mount Union, who shut out Washington & Jefferson 55-0, faces Montclair State (N.J.), victors over Maine Maritime.

Both second-round games begin at 12 noon. For more information, including how to obtain tickets, follow these links:

Trine at Wittenberg
Montclair State at Mount Union

— Bob Burke

Friday, November 20, 2009

Four AICUO Members, Including Defending Champion, 
Begin NCAA Division III Football Tournament Saturday

Mount Union sets out to defend its NCAA Division III football championship Saturday with three other AICUO members — Case Western Reserve, Mount St. Joseph and Wittenberg — out to wrest the title from them.

Winner of three of the last four national championships, and top seed in its bracket as undefeated champion of the Ohio Athletic Conference, Mount Union hosts Washington & Jefferson (Pa.) in its first round game at noon in Alliance.

The three other participants in the tourney are all in the bracket headed by frequent championship contender Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Case Western Reserve, undefeated champion of the University Athletic Association, returns to the tournament to host Trine (Ind.) at noon in Cleveland.

In the remaining game involving AICUO schools, Wittenberg hosts Mount St. Joseph at noon in Springfield. Mount St. Joseph was champion of the Heartland Conference, while undefeated Wittenberg took the crown of the North Coast Athletic Conference.

Follow the links for the games above for details, including ticket information.

-- Bob Burke

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Three New Ohio Presidents Inaugurated

In the last few weeks, three new presidents have been inaugurated at our members institutions, and AICUO was represented at all three.

On October 8, Mark Gordon was installed as the 18th president of Defiance College. Todd represented the association by marching in the academic procession. In fact, the photo at right
is of President Gordon immediately following his inauguration from Todd's seated perspective. For Todd, the highlight was the inaugural address.

President Gordon emphasized how inclusion and academic excellence in making independent colleges like Defiance the forces of social improvement that they are. Todd’s favorite quote summarized that thought: “An educated population provides the crucial framework for democracy and for liberty – and the thought that an educational institution’s prestige in our country is now based on its ability to keep students out, rather than its commitment to letting them in, corrodes the very essence of what education is supposed to be, to offer, and to achieve.”

Next, on October 22, Kathy Krendl took the reins of Otterbein College as its 20th president, in the presence of two AICUO staff. Todd again represented the association, while Bob Burke, AICUO’s research director, represented his undergraduate
alma mater, Harvard.

Dr. Krendl spoke about her inauguration's theme: reflect, connect, act. She reflected on her institution’s connection to values that have remained constant throughout its history, and its ability to adapt in a changing manner to reflect, connect, and act on those values. “We must act to sustain this benevolent community that celebrates equality, inclusiveness, a dedication to serving others, a determination to apply knowledge and learning to improve the human condition, and a commitment to remain a college of opportunity.”

Finally, Heidelberg University inaugurated Robert Huntington as its 14th president on November 6. Sadly, Todd arrived too late to march with the procession, delayed like others by a massive highway accident. Arriving just as the other representatives marched in, he had the opportunity to watch with what seemed to be most of the student body in the basketball arena’s stands.

As one who attends many such ceremonies, Todd found the event to have some unusual touches. Most pleasurable was the inclusion of poems from Heidelberg Professor of English Dr. William Reyer, and from Dr. Susan McCafferty, who also happens to be the wife of the new president. Dr. Huntington's call fro strengthening the institution as institution strengthens the lives of its students and the community were well received among the undergraduates in Todd's bleacher section.

—C. Todd Jones and Bob Burke

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Jones Appointed to Federal Rule Negotiating Panel

AICUO President C. Todd Jones has been selected by the Obama administration as one of about a dozen, primary negotiators in an upcoming negotiated rule making session for the U.S. Department of Education.

The Higher Education Act was revised last year and, for the law's Title IV that deals with student loans, the act requires that regulations be negotiated among interested stakeholders. Jones will serve as the negotiator representing independent higher education institutions.

Jones said that upcoming sessions will deal with issues of "program integrity," covering a variety of topics that safeguard the federal student loan system against fraud. These include rules governing incentive compensation for college recruiters, procedures for verifying personal financial information submitted by students, agreements among higher education institutions, and tests to determine if students have the "ability to benefit" from higher education.

Negotiations will take place during three one-week sessions in November, December, and January in Washington, D.C.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ohio Independent College Enrollment Up 1.6%

Recent fall headcount numbers from Ohio's independent colleges show an increase of 1/6% over fall 2008 numbers. This increase marks the 24th year in a row of increased enrollment. This increase shows the strength of Ohio's independent colleges - despite difficult economic times that include major cuts in state student financial aid.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Gov. and Local Officials Honor Dayton as Innovation Hub

Yesterday state and local officials gathered at the University of Dayton to recognize the Dayton area as Ohio's first Hub of Innovation and Opportunity. Governor Ted Strickland headlined the event as UD President Dan Curran, Dept. of Development Interim Director Lisa Patt-McDaniel, Dayton Mayor Rhine McLin, Montgomery County Commissioner Debbie Lieberman, and CEO of the Dayton Development Coalition Jim Leftwich all gave their accolades to the region and the universities within.

The governor explained that for a region to be designated an Ohio Hub, they must "identify core strengths and develop a strategic plan for urban revitalization." A Hub designation is a "commitment from both the state and region to work collaboratively and target economic development efforts toward building upon those identified strengths. Dayton’s Ohio Aerospace Hub of Innovation builds upon the area’s strengths in aerospace, sensor technologies, and advanced materials to create new companies, sustain existing partners, and attract new investment based on Ohio’s world-class research, development, and industry assets, including The University of Dayton and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base."

The recognition ceremony was followed by a tour of the aerospace department and a photo opportunity for the governor and other elected officials.

This inaugural designation of an Ohio Hub coincided well with the Executive Order issued by Governor Strickland requiring the Dept. of Development to establish an advisory group of aerospace and aviation industry leaders to assist with efforts to maximize business opportunities in those fields in Ohio.

- Dustin A. Holfinger

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Transparency at 400 Maryland Ave.

Kudos to the Obama administration for a little more transparency in government. An administration is as much its people as its publicly stated policies. The people became far more identifiable because of a change made this year.

The public has long been able to access the identities of the senior department and agency appointees, but now can learn about a range of other less visible, but often no less influential, appointees. On the Department of Education's Web site, Secretary Arne Duncan has made available a list of all political appointees. The Senate-confirmed appointees are listed, much as in the past, but are joined by many who are certainly political neophytes.

Ohioans might recognize Will Jawando, who is now the secretary's special assistant for boards and commissions. Last year, Will was the education staff member for Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown.

More notable are some of the names that might have stayed below the radar but for the new Web page. Marshall (Mike) Smith is listed as Senior Counselor to the Secretary/Director of International Affairs. Longtime observers will know Mr. Smith by his former title of Under Secretary. In fact, he helped lead efforts in the Clinton Administration to create the Direct Student Loan program.

Other instances, combined with the power of search engines, create other links. The new Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office of Vocational and Adult Education is a former speaker of the Maine House, and was a former institutional advancement dean of a community college in that state. This buttresses the perception that the administration would like to very strongly align (or combine) the workforce programs in the Departments of Education and Labor.

The transparency also helps keep the public informed in real time. For example, the July 1, 2009, Department of Education staff directory, also now available on-line, did not list a chief of staff for the Under Secretary. (Chiefs of Staff of the three senior department offices play very important roles, at times more important than that of assistant secretaries and other appointees.) Since that time, the department appointed Alejandra Ceja to that position.

Every administration operates that way. When I served in the department there were, not surprisingly, large numbers of Texans. But there were also a significant number of Pennsylvanians who formerly worked with our outstanding first Under Secretary, who later became my boss as Deputy Secretary.

While in the administration, I worked with the highly competent daughter of a Republican U.S. Senator who served in a number of significant roles, and a few other far-less skilled people who shared familial relationships with current and former elected and appointed officials. The difference now is that the public can discern some of these relationships on-line and, more importantly, the mainstream and trade press will see these links more often than in the past. Indeed, had this kind of information been available, a few members of the press might have figured out that the Bush administration Department of Education was actually led a number of senior Democrats, contrary to popular perception.

For most people, this is just more inside baseball. But since one of the core values of American democracy is the ability of citizens to know what is happening in their government, the Obama administration has further embraced that value with a timely technological twist.

--C. Todd Jones

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Dr. Barbara Gellman-Danley Named New President of "One Rio"

Former president of Antioch University McGregor, Coordinating Officer for The University of Rio Grande, and currently the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and System Integration for the Board of Regents, Dr. Barbara Gellman-Danley, has been named as the new President of the collaborative University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College called "One Rio". The two institutions are now a merged entity as a result of HB 1, which provided legislation needed for one president to serve both institutions for one-year trial period. She assumes the presidency on October 1, when the current interim president, Don Wood, assumes his previous role as Chair of the University of Rio Grande Board of Trustees.

Dr. Gellman-Danley has been great addition to the Ohio higher education system since her arrival from the Oklahoma system as Vice Chancellor for Educational Outreach for their State Regents office. She also worked in the New York educational system as the VP for Educational Technology and VP of Institutional Advancement. This broad experience in all sectors of higher education will give her the necessary tools and know-how to compete as a successful college president in today's market. As president of Antioch University McGregor, she led an increase in enrollment as well as increased the stature of the university as a adult-education center, providing an opportunity for the non-traditional students who needed to obtain more education.

AICUO would like to congratulate Dr. Gellman-Danley, commend her for her hard work done thus far for the state of Ohio, and welcome her back to the private sector of higher education. We wish her the best and look forward to working with her in her new post.

Friday, August 28, 2009

AICUO President Discusses HB 1 on "The State of Ohio"

AICUO President C. Todd Jones appeared on last weekend’s broadcast of "The State of Ohio," discussing the recently passed state budget on a panel with the presidents of the Inter-University Council, Bruce Johnson, and the Ohio Association of Career Colleges and Schools, David Rankin.

(The budget discussion segment starts at 08:45 of the broadcast.)


Monday, August 10, 2009

Ohio’s Latest Budget Cuts Student Aid, Provides Flat Grants for Remaining Eligible Students

Ohio’s biennial budget was signed by Gov. Strickland last month, and the details represent the biggest change in state-provided aid in four decades. The elimination of the Student Choice Grant, which had encouraged students to obtain their education in Ohio since the early 1970’s, and the radical redesign of the need-based Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG) meant that aid for Ohio students is vastly different this fall than it was just twelve months ago.

OCOG is the state-funded need-based program for Ohio college students. Students become eligible for aid after filling out the federal government’s student aid application, the FAFSA form. In the past, OCOG students received a graduated amount according to their EFC (Expected Family Contribution). The size of the grant reflected how well a student could afford college—the less able to pay for college, the more state aid that was available.

This year’s budget made several key changes to this structure. First, the concept of “Pell First” was introduced, meaning that OCOG-eligible students would only receive OCOG funds after determining whether Pell grants meet their needs. In other words, if federal aid pays for college tuition and expenses, as it does for most students at community colleges, there would be no additional OCOG aid.

Second, OCOG grants are no longer graduated. Where previously, maximum amounts for annual grants were $4,992 for independent college students with a $0 EFC (and half that amount for students at publicly subsidized colleges) depending upon a family’s EFC, OCOG grants now accrue only as flat amounts. All eligible independent college students receive $2,256 per year, while public college students receive $1,008.

For almost all Ohio independent institutions, Pell First had no impact because tuition and other costs exceed a maximum Pell grant plus a “flat” OCOG grant. The law permitted the Ohio Board of Regents (OBR) to change this formula, but it is unlikely to do so. OBR believes that other alternatives would be less equitable in absence of enough money to pay for a student’s full need.

Interestingly, the flat grant will increase next year, even though funding remains the same because of two factors. First, the budget bill required OBR to backfill the shortfall in last year’s OCOG funding for both public and independent college students. Second, the bill permitted the chancellor to reduce OCOG funds for continuation of Ohio Academic Scholarships for those who had already received them (as there are no new grants in this program, which has been defunded). The chancellor chose to do so.

The cuts reduced the $41 million in OCOG funding for private college students by $8.5 million. If that money were not removed (as it will not be in 2010-11), the estimated grant would increase to almost $3,000 from $2,256 (assuming no increase in the number of eligible students).

SCG previously provided up to $1,080 per year for independent college students. Gov. Strickland pledged in his first State of the State address to eliminate “wastefulness and giveaways” and sought to reduce SCG funding by over two-thirds, making changes that would have effectively killed the program. A final legislative compromise in 2007 cut the grant to $660 per student. While AICUO backed a Strickland proposal to replace SCG with a block-grant aid program, neither that program nor SCG survived the budget process this year.

As a result, the poorest of independent college students saw their annual assistance to attend college drop from $5,658 to $2,256 this year. Just two years before, those same students with the greatest financial need would have received $5,988 to encourage them to choose an Ohio independent college.

--C. Todd Jones and Dustin Holfinger

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

HB 1, Budget Bill Finds Light at End of Tunnel

After two, week-long extensions, and a recently passed and signed third, the House (54-44 vote) and Senate (17-15 vote) finally passed the state budget bill and were able to zip it through both chambers in one day. This bill has been one of the most partisan budgets seen by many around Cap Square and as details are released and deciphered it is sure to only get worse.

AICUO staff spent yesterday afternoon sifting through the released materials (comparison docs, line item spreadsheets) to find any surprises that may have been hidden within the bill - none were readily evident as we had been discussing the provisions with OBR staff and legislative offices over the last few weeks or more. But one item did throw us off a bit. Ohio College Access Network (OCAN) has been zeroed out within this budget. To publicly say that access to college is a major issue that Ohio needs to grasp then to cut the program completely is beyond us. Although we know cuts were needed, this one seems a little contradictory to the message we need to send as a state.

Some major items with direct relation to independent colleges that we found within the budget are as follows:

Student Choice Grant - GONE, completely. This is an issue we tried to advocate against, at least the repeal of the line-item. AICUO felt that leaving the implementation language, even with it zeroed out, would be beneficial. Who knows, we may need to come back to this program in the future. Why start from scratch?

Choose Ohio First - received a planned increase. This program, which now allows independent colleges to compete for grants on the same level playing field as public campuses, is intended to increase the number of STEM students in Ohio. Since we graduate a disproportionate amount of theses grads, we are very pleased with this outcome.

Teach Ohio - Governor Strickland's program that will allow smaller teacher-education courses, and mandate closer relationships and partnerships with local school districts and their local institutions of higher learning. The program has $2.5 million allocated to it.

OCOG - THE need-based aid program for Ohio's college students. This program is the life-blood for low income students that have "need" as defined by the Board of Regents' formula and it has been slashed in total funding by 91.2 million over the biennium. This is a near devastating blow to our needy students in Ohio. This cut is a contradictory position for the legislature and Governor to take on this issue - federal stimulus dollars could have been added and helped increase the number of students in Ohio that receive aid, but that money went to the public institutions' State Share of Instruction - all $618.7 million... (of the $171 million in this line item, $82 million is allocated for Independent Colleges)

Although, from a legislative standpoint, the budget process is close to its end point — the governor could line-item veto parts of this bill and the legislature could try to override these — things remain very much in flux at this point. As the dust settles and the language is released in full we will know how all of the new programs and mandates will affect us more directly. Keep an eye on the newspapers and here on the blog for additional information.

--Dustin A. Holfinger

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Veterans Affairs Dept. Releases Final Yellow Ribbon List

A count by AICUO finds that at least 45 Ohio independent colleges and universities submitted Yellow Ribbon participation agreements to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The deadline for signing up for the new veterans' student assistance program, which goes into effect August 1, was June 15.

The VA released its final list of program participants on Wednesday. As of late-day, the VA's state-by-state list included approximately 600 private, nonprofit participants - well above expected projections.

We are pleased with the high level of interest that our institutions have shown in serving student veterans, through the Yellow Ribbon program and other campus aid resources, especially given the economic pressures of the time and the administrative hurdles associated with implementing a major new federal program.

This legislation is a critical investment in the nation's veterans, and a prime example of how by working as partners, the federal government, colleges and universities, and others can pool critical resources to enhance student access and affordability.

--Dustin A. Holfinger

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Credit Card Marketing Bill Passes House

This afternoon, the Ohio House passed HB 12, sponsored by Rep. Matt Lundy (D - Elyria) by a final vote of 69-25. The bill would limit the marketing that a credit card company can conduct on a college campus. The bill received a surprising amount of floor discussion following a lengthy series of meetings with interested parties, including AICUO.

On the floor, several members from each side of the aisle spoke in support of the measure to curb credit card marketing, calling the gift give-aways "eye-candy to students." Rep. Lundy spoke about discussions with public and private campus representatives and other interested legislators, saying that the talks were productive and that common ground had been found. Lundy then offered a floor amendment to remove the prohibition on use of student directories for "for-profit" ventures; to specify that ads intended for the general public in local non-campus newspapers would not violate the legislation; to require that solicitors must not allow students to sign up for credit cards; and to permit required financial literacy courses at public and independent colleges to be conducted either during the first semester of the students' freshman year or orientation as originally provided in the bill.

A handful of Republican legislators stated that they could not support the bill because of its educational requirements for independent campuses.

AICUO participated in the interested-party policy-development process in the run up to floor action, and worked with Rep. Lundy to clarify a few provisions within the bill, specifically the prohibition on usage of student directories. If untouched, that provision would have disallowed campus bookstores to send flyers to students for ANY promotional sales or advertisements, among other significant impacts.

AICUO will continue to follow this bill as it moves over to the Senate for further consideration.

--Dustin A. Holfinger

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Operating Budget Voted out of Senate Finance Committee

The Senate Finance Committee voted out HB 1, Operating Budget legislation, along party lines today (9-4). The Senate version of the $54 billion appropriation bill scrapped the House version and even cut into provisions Governor Strickland saw as priorities in his executive budget.

Higher Education, for the most part, stayed away from the policy discussion while K-12, and state park oil drilling stole the attention of the committee members. AICUO member-institutions saw no additional changes to provisions changed in the initial Senate sub bill. Funding levels for independent college students did see a decrease from the House-passed version after the Senate's changes but will have equal-status inclusion in the Choose Ohio First Program.

The Tuition Trust Authority saw some tweeks and changes to its governance model. Vice Chairman, Senator Mark Wagoner (R - Toledo) explained the provision, that's included within the omnibus amendment, that the Ohio Board of Regents will house the Tuition Trust Authority and the Senate's version will provide a hybrid version of board oversight. The Chancellor, Eric Fingerhut, and the Board of Regents will obtain more cost controls while maintaining OTTA sovereignty.

The House of Representatives is unlikely to confer on Senate changes sending the bill onto conference committee. That process will start after the bill passes the full Senate, expected to happen tomorrow afternoon in what could be a very long session. The conference committee will have a difficult task, there is still at least $250 million at risk of being cut as a result of the dreary state revenue numbers.

AICUO staff will continue to monitor the legislation and keep members updated.

--Dustin A. Holfinger

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

AICUO Celebrates People's Choice Art Award Winner

AICUO President C. Todd Jones presented Wittenberg senior Mary Griffith with the AICUO People's Choice Award for Excellence in the Visual Arts yesterday on the campus of Wittenberg University. Mr. Jones was joined by Wittenberg President Dr. Mark Erickson to present Ms. Griffith with her award as well as a gift bag filled with prizes from program sponsors. Ms. Griffith was selected as the People's Choice Winner from 21 nominees from 15 AICUO member institutions.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Contents of HB 1 Positive for AICUO Members

In its revised version of Sub H.B. 1, the state operating budget for the two years beginning July 1 that was released Tuesday, the House Finance and Appropriations Committee incorporated nearly every change sought by the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, including an increase in student aid funding for independent-college students from $40 million per year to $60 million.

In addition, the committee made other significant amendments consistent with AICUO’s recommendations, including equal treatment for independent colleges in the Choose Ohio First “STEM” program for scholarships and research fellowships and the proposed Teach Ohio scholarship program.

In addition, the association has received an assurance from the chancellor that, should there be cuts to the operating budget during the biennium, the new block-grant funds will receive the same treatment as the governor’s high-priority, public-college programs, including the State Share of Instruction and the now public-only Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG) program.

The bill is available on-line here.

--Dustin A. Holfinger

Friday, April 24, 2009

AICUO Award for Excellence in the Visual Arts

We are proud to announce the 2009 AICUO Award for Excellence in the Visual Arts Grand Award winner and People’s Choice Award winner. This year’s Grand Award was presented to Amy Giovanna Rinaldi from Oberlin College. The People’s Choice Award winner was Mary Griffith from Wittenberg University. As the Grand Award winner, Amy Giovanna Rinaldi will receive a $2,500 cash prize and AICUO will purchase one of her pieces to display in our office.

Held at the Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD) Canzani Center, the second annual AICUO Award for Excellence in the Visual Arts reception was held on Monday, April 20th to recognize the six AICUO Award winners for their outstanding achievements in the arts as well as all the students nominated for this award by their institutions.

Preceding the reception a student panel was held, moderated by CCAD professor Robert Robbins, allowing the students to discuss in a candid manner their inspiration, goals, achievements, and current works. The panel was attended by art faculty, students, and the artists’ families.

At the reception, the artwork created by the six winners was shown throughout the evening in a streaming PowerPoint for those in attendance to view their portfolios and start conversations with the artists about their pieces.

Each winner was introduced by a member of their art department and presented commendations from their legislators as well as original blown glass awards, designed and created by local artist Jason Antol, who is a graduate of CCAD.

This year’s AICUO Award winners were: Mark Bush from Columbus College of Art & Design; Antonio Papania-Davis from Oberlin College; Sarah Rocheleau from Art Academy of Cincinnati; Andrew Steingass from Ohio Northern University; and Nathalie VanBalen from Denison University.

In its second year, the AICUO Award for Excellence in the Visual Arts is an exciting way our Research Foundation is recognizing the unique talents of graduating artists from Ohio’s independent colleges. This year, twenty-one artists were nominated for this prestigious award. To see their works, visit our Web site at www.aicuoartaward.com.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Even Prom has Gone "Green"

When money is tight - recycle. That's the exact thought of two Wilmington College students, Alyssa Gaddis and Jessica Prichard have joined forces with Project Princess to assist high school students save some money and look beautiful.

Project Princess accepts gently used prom dresses, because who wears them more than once, and then provides a prom dress swap meet in the early Spring.

For more information, please see Project Princess' website.

--Dustin A. Holfinger

Monday, March 30, 2009

OT Buzzer-beater Earns Findlay NCAA Basketball Title, Unbeaten Season

Senior Tyler Evans sank a three-point basket at the end of overtime to secure a 56-53 victory for Findlay against Cal Poly-Pomona in the NCAA Division II basketball championship game, Saturday at Springfield, Mass.

It was Evans’s only field goal of the game, and it completed not only a championship but an undefeated season. The Oilers are the fourth team to go unbeaten in Division II since the NCAA tournament for that level began in 1957.

The title marked the second NCAA team sports championship won by an AICUO member institution this season. Mount Union’s football team won its Division III title in December.

This is the first NCAA basketball championship won by an AICUO member since 2004, when Wilmington’s women’s team took the Division III title, and the first unbeaten season crowned by a championship since the 1994-95 Capital women won all their games, including playoffs, also in Division III.

Non-NCAA Championships
As noted recently, the Mount Vernon Nazarene women won this year’s National Christian College Athletic Association basketball championship. AICUO’s other most recent national basketball title came in 2005, when Walsh’s men’s team won the NAIA Division II championship.

-- Bob Burke

Monday, March 16, 2009

MVNU women take NCCAA hoops title

In a game played Saturday at Winona Lake, Ind., Mount Vernon Nazarene’s women’s team rallied from a 10-point second-half deficit to defeat Palm Beach Atlantic (Fla.), 50-48, to win the basketball championship of the National Christian College Athletic Association.

--Bob Burke

Tough weekend for other AICUO members in small-college tournaments

After this weekend’s play, no one from our association remains in the NCAA Division III or NAIA Division II tournaments – indeed, not one even won a game.

At the NAIA tournaments, each of the five AICUO participants ended an otherwise good season with a long ride home after playing a single game.

In the women’s tourney, it was a quick one-and-done for Ohio Dominican at the hands of Dickinson State, 77-44; and for Cedarville, losers to Bethel (Ind.), 67-63.

Walsh, seeded fourth, was victim of an upset in the first round of the men’s tourney by Ottawa, 91-83. Cedarville narrowly lost to Sioux Falls (S.D.), 66-63, while Mount Vernon Nazarene fell to Bellevue (Neb.), 84-75.

Friday the 13th was bad luck for John Carroll and Capital in the NCAA men’s tournament: both lost in Cleveland on the first night of sectional play, which they reached after winning twice on the tournament’s first weekend. Despite hosting the sectional round, John Carroll lost 78-73 to Guilford (N.C.), while Capital fell 71-63 to Texas-Dallas.

- Bob Burke

UPDATED: Unbeaten Findlay reaches men’s Division II "Elite 8" championship weekend

Update: It took overtime but Findlay prevailed against Bellarmine, 89-86, and heads to Springfield for the eight-team championship round.

Findlay, men’s basketball champion of the Great Lakes conference, hasn’t lost yet this season – including two games this weekend in the NCAA Division II men’s basketball tournament. After wins over Grand Valley State (Mich.), 66-51, and Southern Indiana, 81-59, the Oilers play Bellarmine (N.Y.) Tuesday night at Findlay’s Croy Gymnasium for a spot in the NCAA’s championship round – the “elite eight” – in Springfield, Mass., starting March 25. The NCAA reports that the game is sold out.

- Bob Burke

Dayton to host play-in, first and second rounds of NCAA men’s tournament

Tickets remain available for the “opening round” – the NCAA’s euphemism for the play-in game where the two lowest ranked conference champions compete to enter the 64-team field – at the University of Dayton arena Tuesday night. Morehead State of the Ohio Valley Conference plays Alabama State of the Southwest Athletic Conference; the winner gets to play Louisville, the tournament’s top-seeded team. The UD arena also hosts first- and second-round action on Friday and Sunday, but those games are already sold out.

- Bob Burke

Both Division I AICUO members qualify for NCAA men’s basketball tournament

There are just two AICUO members who participate in NCAA Division I athletics, and both – the University of Dayton and Xavier University – earned spots in the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament that starts this weekend. They were two of the four at-large participants nationally who were neither conference champions nor members of football Bowl Championship Series conferences.

Compared to Ohio State — whose first-round site, the University of Dayton arena, must have been chosen by the governor himself — Ohio’s two independents faced disparate treatment from the NCAA. Dayton must travel 700 miles to Minneapolis for its first-round game against West Virginia, while Xavier, seeded five spots higher than the Buckeyes, plays its East regional game against Portland State (Ore.) at Boise, Idaho – more than 1,900 miles from home.

- Bob Burke

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Independent College Presidents and Student Testify in Columbus

The House Finance and Appropriations Committee has split off into subcommittees to discuss the 3,000+ page operating budget. AICUO staff has been whiling away the hours on narrow wooden chairs listening to other interested parties in the higher education subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Ted Celeste (D - Grandview Heights). Wednesday, we presented our side of the story and advocate for fair representation of our campuses in the budget bill (HB 1).

University of Dayton senior Molly Dineen, Hiram College President Thomas Chema, and Capital University President, Denvy Bowman all gave testimony before the five-member subcommittee that includes Rep. Ted Celeste (chairman), Ranking Minority Member - Rep. Randy Gardner (R - Bowling Green), Rep. Kathleen Chandler (D - Kent), Rep. Lorraine Fende (D - Willowick) and Rep. Clyde Evans (R - Rio Grande). Their testimonies were succinct and personalized. All gave their views of how the budget, as drafted, would affect their respective institution's students and the independent college sector as a whole. They advocated for more funds within the proposed block grant formula (to ensure that the program will provide the flexibility that the chancellor expects), as well as fair and equal inclusion in three educational programs within the budget: Choose Ohio First, Teach Ohio, and the Co-op & Internship program.

Each witness was accepted graciously by the committee members and all received accolades post-hearing on their unified and articulated message. For a copy of each witness's testimony, please check out the Legislators Section on our website.

Buzzer beaters send John Carroll, Capital to NCAA Men's Division III Sectional in Cleveland

Game winning shots in the last second by John Carroll's Chris Zajak and Capital's D.J. Frazier brought the two Ohio Athletic Conference rivals (and AICUO members) into the round of 16 for the NCAA men's Division III basketball tournament.

Frazier's basket ended the tournament hopes of the third AICUO member team in the men's tournament, the College of Wooster, while Zajak's knocked Carnegie Mellon from the tourney.

Friday night, Capital plays the University of Texas at Dallas, followed by John Carroll's game against Guilford. Here is the web page for this weekend's games, to be played at John Carroll's DeCarlo Varsity Center, including links for video and audio of the games, information on possible available tickets, and stats and other info on the four competing teams:

NCAA Sectionals at John Carroll

Women's Division III basketball teams all eliminated

None of the three AICUO members in the Division III women's tournament remains after this past weekend's play. Baldwin-Wallace was the only team to win a game, a first-round victory over the University of Pittsburgh-Greensburg. B-W then lost to the host team, Hope College, in the second round.

Losing to the host team was common to the other AICUO participants in the women's tournament. Capital was defeated by Washington (Mo.), while Ohio Wesleyan lost to Illinois Wesleyan.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Long-distance Travel Award Goes To NAIA Basketball Tournament Qualifiers

UPDATE: Pairings for the first round of the NAIA tournaments (all times CDT):

Wed., Mar. 11, 3:30 p.m.: Cedarville vs. Bethel (Ind.).
Thu., Mar. 12, 12 noon: Ohio Dominican vs. Dickinson St. (N.D.)

Wed., Mar. 11, 4 p.m.: Mt. Vernon Nazarene vs. Bellevue (Neb.); 5:45 p.m.: Cedarville vs. Sioux Falls (S.D.)
Thu., Mar. 12, 12 noon: Walsh vs. Ottawa (Kan.)

Five Ohio independent college basketball teams have been invited to the postseason tournament of the National Association for Intercollegiate Athletics, the NCAA’s principal rival.

In the 32-team field for the men’s Division II tournament are Walsh, the tournament champion for the America Mideast Conference; Cedarville, the regular season champ; and Mount Vernon Nazarene, an at-large selection. Among the 32 teams qualifying for the women’s tournament are Ohio Dominican, tournament champion of the America Mideast Conference, and Cedarville, the runner-up.

Unlike the NCAA tournaments, each NAIA basketball tourney takes place at a single site from March 11-17, and the distance from home for all AICUO’s teams far outstrips what the first-round NCAA teams must traverse. The women’s tournament is in Sioux City, Iowa, forcing Cedarville to travel 809 miles and Ohio Dominican 847 miles – much farther than Capital’s 425-mile journey to St. Louis for its NCAA women’s first-round game.

For the men the distance is not quite as far, as the tourney is at the College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Mo. Walsh still needs to travel 800 miles, Mount Vernon Nazarene 720 miles, and Cedarville 636 miles.

Pairings, ticket information and broadcast availability are on the NAIA tournament web sites, one each for the men and women.

-- Bob Burke

Monday, March 2, 2009

John Carroll, Capital To Host Opening Weekend Games in NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Tournament

All women’s tourney participants to travel for early-round games

On Monday we learned of the first set of postseason basketball tournaments, those for NCAA Division III.

Among AICUO members, the tournament champions in both men’s and women’s received automatic bids to their respective postseason tourneys; and the second-place teams in the Ohio Athletic Conference received at-large bids. Thus, three Ohio independents will be participating in men’s and women’s post-season play.

Men’s Tournament
The Ohio Athletic Conference’s two representatives, champion John Carroll and runner-up Capital, will host opening-weekend play on their campuses with Friday night doubleheaders and Saturday night games between Friday’s winners.

At John Carroll, the Blue Streaks will play Medaille (N.Y.), champion of the Allegeheny Mountain Athletic Conference, preceded by the matchup between Brockport State (N.Y.) and Carnegie-Mellon (Pa.).

At Capital, two AICUO members compete separately Friday night. Wooster, champion of the North Coast Athletic Conference, plays Gettysburg (Pa.), winner of the Centennial Conference tournament; then Capital, an at-large selection after finishing second in both the OAC regular season and tournament, plays Thomas More (Ky.), champion of the Presidents’ Athletic Conference.

Women’s tournament
None of the AICUO member institutions in the women’s tourney plays at home this weekend.

Among the three long-distance travelers, the winner (or loser, if you will) is Capital, which won the regular-season and tournament crowns in the Ohio Athletic Conference yet must travel 425 miles to Washington-St. Louis (Mo.), and play the host team, champion of the University Athletic Association, in the first round game. On Saturday, the winner of this game between traditional women’s basketball powers plays the winner of the earlier Transylvania (Pa.)-Howard Paine (Texas) game – two teams traveling from even farther than Capital.

Ohio Wesleyan, winner of the North Coast Athletic Conference tournament, doesn’t fare much better on the travel side, with a 350-mile trip to face Illinois Wesleyan, undefeated champion of the Collegiate Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin, on its home floor. The other game on Friday is between DePauw (Ind.) and Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

Baldwin-Wallace, second-place finisher in the Ohio Athletic Conference regular season and tournament, gets the shortest trip, still about 325 miles, to Holland, Mich. The Yellow Jackets face the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg (Pa.) on Friday night; the winner takes on the winner of the Washington & Jefferson (Pa.) against the host team, Hope (Mich.). The Yellow Jackets start their tournament play where everyone wants to finish, as in two weeks Hope is also the host school for the final four.

Other tournaments

We expect to hear from the other major small-college tournament, the NAIA, later this week, as two conference tournaments remain to be settled on Tuesday. The championship game of the men's American Mideast Conference between two AICUO members, Mount Vernon Nazarene and Walsh, takes place in North Canton, with the women's title game between Mount Vernon Nazarene and Ohio Dominican in Columbus.

NCAA Division I and II teams will not be announced until the end of next week.

-- Bob Burke

Friday, February 27, 2009

Sports Illustrated’s Web site highlights AICUO member cheerleader

In its “Cheerleader of the Week” feature, the web site of Sports Illustrated magazine highlights Keri Bailey, a member of the team at one of our member institutions, the University of Dayton.

Of most interest is the answer to the first question posed to Ms. Bailey: how UD won her over the public Miami University …

I was completely set [on Miami] until I visited UD on a whim, but something about the campus just pulled me and I never looked back. I absolutely love it!

There’s plenty about independent higher education that “just pulls” prospective students toward one of our members.

-- Bob Burke

AICUO Announces 2009 Student Art Award Winners

AICUO Announces Winners of Award for Excellence in the Visual Arts

AICUO is proud to announce the 2009 winners of the AICUO Award for Excellence in the Visual Arts.

This year’s winners are:
• Mark Bush, Columbus College of Art & Design
• Amy Giovanna Rinaldi, Oberlin College
• Antonio Papania-Davis, Oberlin College
• Sarah Rocheleau, Art Academy of Cincinnati
• Andrew Steingass, Ohio Northern University
• Nathalie Van Balen, Denison University

These six artists will be presented their awards and their works will be featured at a reception in the Canzani Center at the Columbus College of Art & Design on April 20th. The reception will follow a student panel featuring our winners. A Grand Award winner will be announced from among these six and receive a cash prize.

The People’s Choice Award winner, selected from all 21 of this year’s nominees to the competition, will also be announced that evening. We encourage you to continue to vote for the People’s Choice Award in the coming weeks at the art awards Web site, www.aicuoartaward.com. For more information on the AICUO Award for Excellence in the Visual Arts, or to RSVP for the awards reception, please contact our office at 614-228-2196.

— Stacey Dorr

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Independent College Day Draws Over 140 Students, Faculty and Staff to Statehouse

AICUO's First Annual Independent College Day drew over 140 students and their advisors to the Ohio Statehouse to lobby their Senators and Representatives. Students had the opportunity to meet with legislators from their hometowns and those that represent their institution. Colleges also filled the Statehouse Atrium with displays from their colleges featuring projects of pride - from solar speedboats to a Sim Baby.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Independent College Presidents Advocate on Capitol Hill for Stimulus Bill

This past week, NAICU, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities held their Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. with time alloted for Hill visits. A dozen independent college presidents took heed and met with Senator Voinovich's office, Senator Brown and staff (pictured), and the staff of freshman Congresswoman, Marcia Fudge from the Cleveland area.

The meetings, which centered around the importance of the proposed increase in Pell Grant aid to students and the inclusion of independent colleges in the construction dollars through the Federal Economic Stimulus package went very well. The senators and staff were very engaging and understood our concerns.

The stimulus package is currently being debated in the Senate and is expected to be moved shortly.

- Dustin A. Holfinger

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Strickland Gives Third State of the State

In today’s State of the State address, made this afternoon to a joint House/Senate session in snow-bound Columbus, Governor Ted Strickland proposed continuing tuition freezes at public colleges and universities as his principal higher education initiative for the next two fiscal years.

Without specifying any way to pay for it, he plans to extend the tuition freeze to an additional year for all main, 4-year campuses and cap the tuition increase for 2010 to 3.5%. As for community colleges, they will have two more years of frozen tuition costs. There was no specific mention of Ohio's independent colleges, but this is not an instance where 'no news is good news.' Different proposed funding formulas and/or funding cuts are expected for our institutions as well.

Surely with the economic times the nation is facing, Governor Strickland and the legislature will have their hands full during this budget season.

During his address, Mr. Strickland also stated that his budget proposal will "focus on programs that are most vital to Ohio's future." First in this list of vital programs is education. Most of the governor's address focused on K-12 proposals, including all-day kindergarten, adding twenty school days to the school year, and expanding learning through tutoring and wellness programs. He also is proposing to replace the Ohio Graduation test (OGT) with the "ACT Plus," a four-part assessment including: ACT entrance exam, end of course exams, completion of a service learning project, and submission of a senior project. The ACT will be provided to all students at no cost, to encourage higher education opportunities.

A new "Teach Ohio" program was proposed by the governor as well, saying it would increase in-classroom methodology by establishing an alternative licensure program for professionals with the subject knowledge but lack of instruction background. This program will also empower the school board to dismiss teachers for "good cause," and additionally, strengthen the licensing of school principals. Chancellor Eric Fingerhut, under this plan, would be empowered to redesign college education programs to meet the needs and standards of Ohio's primary and secondary schools. AICUO will plan to work with the chancellor to ensure our teacher-education institutions are in-line with these needs and standards.

The governor also called for all Ohioans and Ohio state agencies to endure a "financial sacrifice." This sacrifice for agencies will most likely come through a planned 10-20% cut in funding and salary freezes for all or most employees.

Finally, the governor is planning to expand the Third Frontier Program through a new Ohio Jobs Stimulus Package. Funds for this expansion are expected to come from President Obama's new federal economic stimulus plan.

The final budget projection model is expected to be released early next week and introduced to the House shortly thereafter. AICUO will continue to meet with legislators and advocate for Ohio's independent colleges' spot at the policy table.

A copy of the transcript can be found here.

- Dustin A. Holfinger

Friday, January 23, 2009

Seminar on Higher Education Act Draws From Independent, Public Campuses

AICUO President Todd Jones led a morning-long seminar on the recently reauthorized federal Higher Education Act Wednesday morning at Franklin University in Columbus. Nearly 100 representatives from 34 Ohio campuses, including two from the public sector, attended.

The program used much of the material developed by the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Ohio for its HEA 101 program. Todd, a former deputy assistant secretary of education, added his own interpretations and predictions from his years of experience in and around the Congress and federal government.

If you’re interested in knowing more about the changes in federal higher education policy -- and all the new expectations placed on our sector by the new law -- visit NAICU’s HEA 101 website, or send an e-mail to asktodd@aicuo.edu In addition, if there's enough interest we will hold another seminar -- contact us at "ask Todd" if you're interested.

-- Bob Burke

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Three Ohio Institutions Make Peace Corps' Top Ranking

The Peace Corps has announced their top colleges and universities included in their annual list of "Peace Corps Top Colleges and Universities" for 2009. Three Ohio institutions made the list this year, including the University of Dayton, Denison University, and Oberlin College.

The University of Dayton was listed within the medium-sized schools list while the others were ranked as small institutions. Schools are ranked according to the size of the student body. Small schools are those with less than 5,000 undergraduates, medium-sized schools have between 5,001 and 15,000 undergraduates, and large schools more than 15,000 undergraduates. To view the entire "Peace Corps Top Colleges and Universities" list for 2009, click here.

AICUO is very proud of the philanthropic nature of our institutions and wish all participating students success in their ventures.

- Dustin A. Holfinger

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Freshman Congressional Members Receive Committee Assignments

Yesterday the freshman members of Congress were sworn into their new positions. With this comes committee assignments which can be launching pads for their long-term careers.

• Marcia Fudge, (D - Warrensville Heights): Education and Labor Committee. Fudge had hoped to get on the Financial Services Committee, but AICUO sees the benefits of having an Ohioan on Ed and Labor Committee once again.

• John Boccieri, (D - Alliance): Transportation and Infrastructure. Steve LaTourette, Republican of Bainbridge Township, is already a senior member.

• Mary Jo Kilroy, (D - Columbus): and Steve Driehaus, (D - Cincinnati) both wound up on Financial Services.

Other Ohioans on Financial Services are Steve LaTourette and Charlie Wilson, a Democrat from Bridgeport.

Republican leaders have not announced their freshman committee assignments, until then, Freshman Caucus President, Steve Austria's (R - Beavercreek) assignments are unknown.

- Dustin A. Holfinger