Watch live as City Club forum discusses future of public higher education

December 15, 2017 GMT

Watch live as City Club forum discusses future of public higher education

CLEVELAND, Ohio - Three Northeast Ohio college presidents will discuss the future of public higher education today at the City Club of Cleveland.

Cleveland State University President Ronald Berkman, University of Akron President Matthew Wilson and Cuyahoga Community College President Alex Johnson will talk about the effects of decreased state funding, affordability, efforts to increase retention and graduation rates and student debt.

The presidents will talk about the challenges they face and the strides that have been made in improving Ohio’s public higher education.

The discussion will be moderated by WKYC President and General Manager Micki Byrnes.

You can watch the discussion live at 12:30 p.m. in the video player above.

Ohio has some of the most unaffordable colleges in the United States, and a coalition of school officials have called on lawmakers and universities to make education more affordable.

They said Ohio ranks 45th out of 50 states related to college affordability.

The state’s support for public higher education has declined 15 percent since the 2008 recession, according to a report issued in August.

The state spends $1,073 less per student now than in 2008, says the report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which examines state spending on two- and four-year public colleges over a decade.

Despite a decline in high school graduates and more competition, Northeast Ohio’s two- and four-year public and private colleges continue to attract new students.

They are enrolling more academically prepared students and seeing the results of programs that encourage freshmen to choose majors, take full loads of classes and persist to graduation.

Cleveland State’s first fundraising campaign exceeded its $100 million goal, raising more than $114 million for student support. CSU’s success initiatives include multi-semester registration, course wait-list options, degree audits and additional student advising.

Cuyahoga Community College’s enrollment has been bolstered by high school students taking classes through College Credit Plus and by the college investing in their manufacturing facilities.

The University of Akron, seeking new ways to attract and retain students, will reduce the cost of tuition for out-of-state students. The university also has expanded the Akron Guarantee Scholarship to to adults and transfer students.