City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld and other Democrats held an event June 27 near the University of Cincinnati criticizing Gov. John Kasich and the Ohio legislature for the low level of funding available for higher education in the state.
Democrats also gathered in Columbus to protest dwindling education spending, which they say makes college unaffordable for many Ohio families. One point they highlighted is that Ohio’s budget spends less than 10 percent on higher education for the first time in four decades.
The events were part of a push by Democrats to make the increasing expense of higher education a campaign issue. Democratic candidate for Governor Ed FitzGerald unveiled his plan for affordable higher education June 18.
The proposal includes finding ways to lower administrative costs at the state’s colleges, increasing the availability of financial aid, expanding a college savings plan, getting more students into early college enrollment while they’re still in high school and boosting community colleges and trade schools.
Fitzgerald cited the nearly $4 billion in student loan debt Ohioans carry as a reason to lower college costs.
He also took the opportunity to hit incumbent Kasich for tuition hikes FitzGerald says resulted from Kasich’s cuts to state funding for higher education.
Gov. Kasich has acknowledged that college affordability is a problem but says schools need to do more to cut costs and make sure degrees lead to good-paying jobs.