According to the Project on Student Debt, 69 percent of seniors who graduated in 2014 had student loan debt, with an average of $28,950. In Ohio, 67 percent borrowed an average of $29,353. State support for public universities and colleges has been cut back over the past decade. Specifically, how would you work to make college more affordable and accessible for Ohio families?

Ohio’s state legislators must partner with colleges & universities, accreditors, the Ohio Education Association, federal government and other stakeholders to improve education access, affordability and completion. State policy can improve the current situation through alignment of secondary and postsecondary systems, reform of remedial education requirements to better fit individual experience & need, and seamless transitions into college and among institutions by making it easy to transfer credits. Notably, our state elected officials should take a more active role in protecting Ohioans through a robust authorization and oversight process, similar to what is needed to ensure transparency with charter schools. I believe we should continue to invest in our public higher education institutions as long as this is associated with reforms to support student success. Funding institutions to some extent based on performance indicators is a best practice, but we do need to be smart about how to appropriately measure progress. Currently, the state is funding public higher education at amounts lower than pre-recession rates, and it is time to reverse this trend. It is certainly time to increase our investment in public universities and colleges.

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