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Presentation illuminates $10 million funding gap

Correction: The story incorrectly states that Ohio University would receive $10 million less in state funding this year in addition to a $9.2 million lapsed payment. OU projected that it would have received $10 million more in state funding this year had Ohio used a different funding formula.

          ZANESVILLE — State funding for Ohio University this year will be about $10 million lower than originally projected, according to a presentation to the Board of Trustees Academics Committee yesterday.

          Associate Provost for Academic Budget and Planning John Day said OU expects to receive $116.7 million in state funding this year, about $10 million less than originally allocated. About $110 million of that money will go to the Athens campus, according to the board’s agenda.

          OU might also have to do without another $9.2 million if a July payment from the state does not come through. In October, state officials delayed the payment from June to July, but there is no guarantee that the General Assembly will follow through with the payment, even though former Gov. Ted Strickland at the time promised that state universities would receive the money.

          Undergraduate activity accounts for 71 percent, or about $84 million, of OU’s state funding, Day said.

          Executive Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit said the presentation helped explain where state funding comes from.

          “I think it was important to get an idea of the complexity of how (the state) subsidy is calculated,” she said.

          Following the presentation on state funding, Craig Cornell, vice provost for enrollment management, spoke about financial aid and scholarships.

          The number of financial aid applicants has risen significantly during the past few years — from 33,607 during the 2004–05 school year to 48,129 in 2009–10, Cornell said. Of the almost $333 million awarded last year, 19 percent, or about $61 million, came from institutional aid.

          Institutional academic awards, such as the Gateway Scholarship program, made up about $23.6 million of the institutional aid. Cornell said the about $13 million allocated to Gateway programs have a positive effect on retention.

          The average retention rate of first-year students in fall 2010 was 80 percent. The rate was 83 percent for students who received the Gateway Grant, which is awarded to high-risk and high-need students, Cornell said.

          “Any growth in this is good,” he said. “This is why we do this.”

          Cornell also spoke about OU’s targeted reinvestment program, which uses tuition money to assist high-need students. That program has contributed to OU’s increasing enrollment despite the economic recession, he said.

          The Academics Committee also listened to a brief update on the progress of the Quarters to Semesters switch from Benoit, who said the project is on target.

          “We are doing exceptionally well. We are on target for what we intended to produce by this point in time. We will be able to make the conversion,” she said.

— Pamela Engel contributed to this report.


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