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Bill threatens local communities

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 28, 2015 at 3:52 PM

I would like to express my frustration regarding an issue that is before the Ohio House. This is an issue that all Ohioans need to make a priority, as it will have a drastic effect on our future. House Bill 119 threatens to pull the Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG) from students seeking enrollment at a proprietary (for-profit) school. Currently OCOG is determined by financial need to students enrolling for a minimum of a two-year degree. Should HB 119 pass, students eligible for such funding will be denied the OCOG if they enroll in a school that is not state-funded.

Since when does the government think it is their right to discriminate against citizens who would prefer to attend a school that is the best choice for them? Most students who attend proprietary schools are considered "non-traditional;" many are single parents, adults returning to the workforce or those who need to train for a new industry. Smaller, proprietary colleges offer a flexible, convenient, and less expensive alternative to reaching their educational and career goals.

Keep in mind that these "for-profit" schools are tax paying businesses in our communities. Should a school be forced to close because of decreased enrollment, the community loses taxes from the school, as well as the taxes paid by the faculty and staff who lose their jobs.

Many times proprietary schools are engrained in the community. They may sponsor charities, offer their classrooms for GED training, attend community events, and participate in local chambers of commerce and other organizations. Why would our state government want to threaten the contributions that these schools make to their communities, not to mention the jobs they create and the graduates that ultimately profit from their education?

I ask that every Ohioan consider the effect that HB 119 could have on their communities, families and the economic future of our great state! Please join me in contacting Governor Ted Strickland and our state legislators let's make it known that education should remain OUR choice.

Heather Gilchrist


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