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BG Falcon Media

The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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New grad retention bill

Ohio Senators Joy Padgett and Randy Gardner introduced a new bill proposal in January that may have a significant impact on the graduation rates of four-year universities in the state.

The new graduation rate-based incentives program would help financially reward those schools that show marked increases from year to year.

“It’s an idea called ‘Invest in Success’,” Padgett said of the proposal. “It’s not in legislative form yet because we are still trying to gather information.”

Gardner said he feels strongly about the proposal and believes universities play an important role in getting this bill passed.

“Universities must be very student-focused if legislation is going to provide new money,” Gardner said.

Gardner was concerned that the community is not focused on education, which could effect whether the bill passes.

“The proposal has good support from the higher education community and the General assembly,” he said. “But there are still some people who don’t understand how necessary higher education is.

The “Invest in Success” proposal would first provide funding incentives based on actual student course completion and graduation rates. It would then provide greater opportunities for high school students to earn college credits.

The proposal would also offer a more rigorous college preparatory curriculum to better prepare high school graduates while reducing college remediation costs.

Finally, new or expanding efforts to replace tuition through scholarships and grants would be provided.

The proposal promotes extensive education in high school so that students will no longer need remedial course work in college, which essentially adds to their projected graduation, according to Padgett.

The plan is to couple higher education and K-12 education to provide maximum awareness of the benefits of higher education, which would include on-campus encouragement of young children and their families to plan for college.

In Ohio 56% percent of first year full-time students in public and private four year universities complete their bachelor’s degree in six years, which is slightly higher than the national average of 54% percent, according to a 2005 report from the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education.

The emphasis on the success of students is important, said Nancy Merritt, dean of the College of Business Administration.

“I think it is necessary to motivate students towards that goal,” she said.

Although Merritt was enthusiastic about the proposal, she said she found it partially disturbing.

“I am concerned that this proposal, if passed, may put pressure on the high school years,” she said.

Merritt said the proposal could force students to put a lot more focus on their schoolwork, and that they then may not want to involve themselves in extracurricular activities and may become overwhelmed.

The proposal is a positive step in trying to better education, but there are some risks involved, said Simon Morgan-Russell, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

“I think that the intentions are pretty good,” he said. However, he is concerned some colleges may make it easier for students to graduate by lowering their standards.

“I think it’s important that we have more college graduates in Ohio,” he said. “But I’m not sure this is the best way to do it.”

Merritt, however, has faith in her faculty colleagues.

School administrators aren’t the only ones who posed opinions and concerns about the proposed bill.

Danielle Jones, junior and education major, does not agree with the proposal.

“I feel that this proposal will be more beneficial to the schools than the students,” she said.

Some other concerns she had included where the funds received for graduation rate-based incentives would go and how it could be assured that students are not just going to be passed along so that the schools can receive the funding.

“The overall idea is good,” Jones said. “But there are some factors, such as dishonesty, that should be taken into consideration.”

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