Mount Union Hosts Higher Education Reform Meeting

September 10, 2013

Higher Education ReformALLIANCE, Ohio – The University of Mount Union was selected as a location for an Ohio House of Representatives Higher Education Reform Study Committee meeting recently.

During the meeting, members of the committee, chaired by Rep. Cliff Rosenberger with Rep. Christina Hagan as vice chair, heard testimonies from area college and university officials as well as students. Mount Union President Richard F. Giese began the testimony, discussing affordability in higher education.

“For more than 165 years, the University of Mount Union has offered a high-quality education to our students while working diligently to keep our costs as reasonable as possible,” Giese said. “At Mount Union, we have consistently ranked among the lowest in tuition and fees among comparable colleges and universities. In fact, our tuition is over 12% below the average of other similar private institutions in Ohio.”

Giese shared that the fact that Mount Union provides an exceptional experience at a great value has been recognized by many external sources. For example, Mount Union was recently ranked the top college for the money in the Great Lakes Region, which includes all colleges and universities, public and private, in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin, by collegefactual.com.

Giese noted that while keeping costs low, Mount Union continues to build a curriculum for the future with more than 60 undergraduate majors, including majors in high-demand fields such as civil engineering, mechanical engineering, nursing, criminal justice and public health. Mount Union has also expanded its offerings to include graduate programs in physician assistant studies and educational leadership as well as a potential new doctoral program in physical therapy.

“We are doing our part,” Giese said. “At Mount Union, we are working to enhance efficiency on campus to decrease costs. We also have increased Mount Union funded financial aid in the form of grants and scholarships by over $5 million in the past six years to an annual cost of $26 million.”

Despite efforts to be efficient on campus and provide institutional assistance, however, Giese noted that funding from the State of Ohio has decreased over the years. At one time, all Ohio residents attending an Ohio private institution full-time received support from the state. Today, only the most needy students in the state receive support and it is nowhere near the level where need-based funding used to be. Giese shared the impact of state funding cuts on Ohio students and Mount Union students in particular.

“We must work together to alleviate the additional financial burden that has been thrust onto our families to ensure a brighter future for our students, our institutions and our state,” Giese said. “We need to keep Ohio students attending Ohio institutions. They then are far more likely to remain Ohioans and contribute to our state economy throughout their adult lives.”

Mount Union senior writing major Nick Mock of Newton Falls, OH shared his gratitude for receiving the Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG), which allowed him to attend a private university and become involved in numerous extracurricular activities and be involved in various groups on campus.

“I have made an identity for myself on this campus because of the countless opportunities that I have been fortunate enough to be given thanks to the help of the OCOG grant,” Mock said. 

Hannah Rothgery, a senior psychology major of Vermillion, OH, also shared about how the OCOG helped her attend college and discussed how she has become involved in numerous activities at Mount Union.

“Because of the experience I was able to receive, I have never been more excited to pay it forward upon graduation,” Hannah said. “The Ohio College Opportunity Grant has given not only myself, but many students, an opportunity for their dreams to come true.”

The Higher Education Study Committee is holding various meetings, open to the public, during August and September, to discuss a wide range of issues such as tax reform, health care and higher education.

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