Could free college in Ohio become a Reality?
By Joe Messinger, CFP®
June 29, 2018
Politicians (better than anyone) know how to tailor their message to their potential voters. One hot topic is the possibility of free college. The state of New York announced their free college tuition plan in 2017. A few other states have free tuition programs with a variety of terms and conditions. (Click here to see a map.) In the state of Ohio, the candidates for governor have touched on the topic of free college, but they haven’t really proposed any firm plans. Let’s take a look at what they have proposed so far.
Currently, Ohio ranks 45th out of the 50 states in college affordability. Not good! Both candidates for governor know this is topic that needs to be addressed. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is running against former Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Richard Cordray.
According to his election website, Richard Cordray proposes making community college free in Ohio to any high school student who gets in. His website touches on the importance of education in helping our economy. “By 2020, 64% of jobs in Ohio will require at least an associate’s degree, but today, only 37% of our working-age adults have a degree.” He does not provide specifics on how to fund this potentially $60 million per year program however.
In addition, he wants to expand Columbus State’s Preferred Pathways program to other colleges enabling students to easily transfer their credits from CSCC to public 4-year colleges and guarantees admission to those schools. Lastly, Cordray wants to ensure community college students are graduating on time.
Mike DeWine’s election website does not devote a section specifically to higher education priorities. He writes: “He knows that every parent wants their kids to have an opportunity for a solid education, a healthy life that is free of drugs, and a good paying job later in life.” In a newspaper article in April, DeWine focused on closing the “work-skills gap” and “exposing high school students to different careers and work opportunities, giving them mentors and emphasizing career centers and technical schools.” Free community college is an idea he was “exploring.”
How Can Parents Find “Free” College Now?
If you’re reading this, you probably can’t wait until after the election and then even longer until legislation is passed (if it ever is). So, what can parents be doing now to find “free” college?
Read our blog. HAHA! We’re only half joking because the best way to find the best college fit, at the lowest price, is to understand the process. We started writing a weekly blog in May 2015. (We missed celebrating our third birthday!) Here’s a sample of articles that shows what we mean:
- How can students help?
- 3 Key College Affordability Questions
- Secrets You Didn’t Know About 529 Plans
- Searching for Scholarships
- What You Need to Know About Student Loans
Use the search bar on the blog page and type in your topic–taxes, savings, scholarships, loans, military, financial aid, grants, grandparents, 529, home equity, retirement, and on and on. You’ll find a piece that can help you.
Truthfully, parents can’t wait for politicians to make changes that will help us in any significant way. You must arm yourselves with knowledge about making smart college decisions that fit your family best.