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.
“We have one of the highest tuition rates in the country, one of the lowest rates for financial aid, that’s just wrong,” Neuhardt says. Neuhardt says Fitzgerald would increase financial aid and look for ways to reduce or refinance student loan debt in Ohio, although she won’t say exactly how those programs would be paid for.
State financial aid has decreased dramatically in recent years. Almost 70 percent of Ohio college graduates leave with student debt, which averages $29,000 dollars. The Fitzgerald campaign accuses Republican Governor John Kasich of not doing enough on higher education. In a statement, the Ohio Republican Party responded saying Fitzgerald is running an “unpaid tab” by proposing spending without a funding source and calling him unfit to lead the state.
Lewis Wallace is WYSO's economics reporter and substitute morning host. Follow him @lewispants.