Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor Sharen Neuhardt is speaking at Sinclair Community College Thursday afternoon about Ed Fitzgerald’s platform on higher education. Neuhardt says if Fitzgerald is elected governor, he will establish a fund that helps Ohio students begin saving for college in kindergarten. Fitzgerald, currently the Cuyahoga County Executive, launched a program last month that starts a college savings account for every Cuyahoga County kindergartner.
College applications deadlines are approaching, and Ohio students are facing the daunting question of how to fund their education. Financial aid is down in the state, and student debt is up.
The total budget for need-based aid in the state of Ohio peaked in 2008 at $183 million, while the 2013 budget is just $86 million. Budget cuts in 2009 are responsible for a lot of that change, and while federal Pell Grant funding has increased dramatically, that growth has been outpaced by increases in tuition and living costs.
The Senate passed a bill this week that will lower student loan interest rates, at least for the few years. Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown isn’t happy with the legislation and as Emily McCord reports, he says there's still more work to do to help students.
College and university officials, and many students and parents are watching closely to see whether Congress takes action this week on federally subsidized college loans. The interest rate on subsidized Stafford loans is set to double when the current rate of 3.4 percent sunsets on July 1st.