The Ohio Department of Higher Education has approved $5 million in funding for projects that will enhance the quality of higher education throughout the state while making it more affordable for students by stabilizing or reducing tuition rates at colleges and universities. Schools receiving the funds designed collaborative, innovative projects that support academic achievement and economic efficiencies. The funds will be awarded for projects serving students at the community college and university levels.
“The projects supported by these innovation grants will directly impact students as they pursue a successful future in college and their career of choice,” said Chancellor John Carey. “The projects will explore the implementation of competency-based education, support peer-to-peer mentor programs, and help students earn an associate degree before they graduate from high school, to name just a few highlights.”
Schools receiving awards are Bowling Green State University, Columbus State Community College, Hiram College, Marion Technical College, North Central State College, Shawnee State University, and Sinclair Community College. Each of the aforementioned schools partnered with other colleges and universities to enable innovative practices to benefit students.
Our own North Central State College is involved in two of the Innovation Program Awards.
In conjunction with Marion Technical College, NCSC received $350,000 to fund a “Graduate Pathways to Success” initiative, which will will expand the GPS programs in their communities. The GPS program design provides students with an educational and career pathway beginning at the end of the eighth grade. These educational pathways align with in-demand careers based on Ohio Means Jobs, EMSI data, and local employer needs. Additionally, the GPS program allows students to complete an associate degree while meeting high school requirements, utilizing the College Credit Plus program, thereby earning a degree without incurring any debt.
The largest Innovation Program Award, for $1.3 million, also went to NCSC. In collaboration with Ohio State and Ohio Dominican universities, NCSC will develop open educational resources (OER) and other materials with 15 other community colleges in an effort to reduce the cost of textbooks for students. Faculty teams from the participating institutions will work to create and evaluate OER materials for up to 20 courses that are among the highest enrolled courses at the colleges and offered in high schools as College Credit Plus courses and three upper level mathematic courses. OSU will share its research and evaluation strategies to enhance the project and assist community college students taking courses using OER to transition into four-year institutions. ODU will engage with Ohio’s private non-profit colleges and universities to expand the project in the mathematics areas, and OhioLink will assist with project implementation, building on its open educations strategies and initiatives.
Other participating community colleges are Clark State College, Central Ohio Technical College, Edison Community College, Hocking College, Lakeland Community College, Lorain County Community College, Northwest State Community College, Rhodes State College, Southern State Community College, Terra State Community College, and Washington State Community College.