Ohio Senate Eyes $2.9 Billion in College Assets

A document obtained by The Associated Press shows Ohio's public colleges and universities have cash reserves nearing $3 billion, a significant chunk of the state's $8 billion budget gap.(Photo: tlarrow (flickr))
A document obtained by The Associated Press shows Ohio's public colleges and universities have cash reserves nearing $3 billion, a significant chunk of the state's $8 billion budget gap.(Photo: tlarrow (flickr))

A document obtained by The Associated Press shows Ohio’s public colleges and universities have cash reserves nearing $3 billion, a significant chunk of the state’s $8 billion budget gap.

The sum is at the heart of debate emerging in the Ohio Senate over tuition limits and state aid to higher education. The chamber begins hearings today on a $55 billion, two-year state budget.

Senate Finance Chairman Chris Widener questions authorizing tuition increases when universities are sitting on so much cash. The Republican says he’d like to balance the health of universities against family pocketbooks.

Bruce Johnson directs the Inter-University Council of Ohio representing public universities. He says reserves aren’t actually free cash but help cover worker injury and health care costs, reduce borrowing rates, and affect bond ratings.

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