What’s Missing in Ohio’s Affordability Plan?


Ohio Governor John Kasich’s recent appointment of Gordon Gee, former President of Ohio State University, to head the group tackling college affordability in Ohio highlights a troublesome trend in higher education today.

Increasingly, higher ed experts chosen to shape policy on affordability and other critical issues come to those tasks with perspectives and allegiances ill-suited to helping them understand the experience of most college students and their families.  In the case of Gee, a candidate less likely understand the trials of families struggling to finance higher education is hard to imagine  In 2011, he was the highest paid public university president in the country with a total compensation package of $1,992,221 (Base Salary, $814,157; Bonus Pay, $296,786; Deferred Compensation, Set Aside, $881,278).

His retirement in 2013—and the $1.2 million annual package he received from the university–did little to dampen Gee’s economic good fortune.

Can Ohioans reasonably expect that such an extraordinarily well-compensated executive will explore the ways that administrative bloat is driving up college costs?  Is someone with corporate ties as extensive as Gee’s likely to take on those groups most resistant to reversing  devastating cuts in state funding for higher education, the most direct cause of rising tuition?

For more on Gee’s corporate ties, click here.

Ohio’s approach to studying higher education affordability surely highlights the need to hear more perspectives and more voices—those of students, faculty, staff, and community members—as we chart the future of higher education in our states.