Another Task Force…

Ohio policymakers have apparently become very concerned about the state’s college completion rate. The state’s gradation rate is apparently slightly below average and it aims to fix the problem. Or, at any rate, it aims to try.

According to a piece in the Canton Repository‎

Ohio is in the bottom quarter of states for college-educated residents. Only 26 percent of adults have earned a four-year degree; the national average is 31 percent.

With this and other concerns in mind, Ohio Chancellor Jim Petro has created a task force that begins meeting this week to plan strategies that will help more Ohioans to earn two- and four-year degrees.

This task force will study dual-enrollment programs replacing the Ohio Graduation Test with the ACT or SAT. Apparently this should “increase the likelihood of students being college or career-ready upon high school graduation.”

All of this, however, will likely come to nothing. The trouble is that people don’t graduate from college largely because college is too expensive. The primary reason students drop out of college is financial. People leave college because they’re strapped for cash and they have to get jobs.

With Miami of Ohio, Ohio State, Ohio University, and the University of Cincinnati, Ohio, in fact, has some of the most expensive state universities in America. That might, perhaps, be the reason for the low completion rate.

It’s true that Petro can probably move the needle a little in terms of college completion by fiddling with dual enrollment or the Ohio Graduation Test, but if he really wanted to make a difference he should just scrap the task force altogether and work on the real problem: try to reduce costs and persuade the legislature to give Ohio’s state institutions more money.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer