University of Findlay President Dr. Katherine Fell recently testified in an Ohio House Finance Subcommittee meeting on higher education, providing important insight on the financial situations higher education institutions are currently facing as well as how, specifically, the committee can help to better educate the state’s citizens.
This subcommittee of the Ohio House of Representatives meets regularly to discuss proposed bills regarding financial issues within higher education. In public hearings, details of each bill are thoroughly reviewed and, eventually, the merits of the bill inform a decision. As a leader in higher education in Ohio, Dr. Fell said at the March 3 meeting that she supports both the proposed increase to the Ohio College Opportunities Grant (OCOG) as well as the requirement of students to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
In her testimony, Dr. Fell explained that “an increase in OCOG will enable more students who face financial barriers to attend college,” and that “University of Findlay and the independent higher education sector at large pledge to continue to do our part in helping bridge the financial gap for students by providing significant need-based and merit aid from our own budgets and donor support.” On average, 340 UF students benefit from the grant annually and “every single dollar for these students counts,” she said.
Regarding the FAFSA requirement, Dr. Fell offered similar support, saying that it will “open opportunities for many Ohio high school students and their families that they currently do not know to be available.” The perception is often that education is financially unattainable, she added, and that notion can potentially hinder students from pursuing higher education. “How are they to feel hopeful about the future if they believe that there is no way to prepare themselves for a better life?” she said. Her concern is notable, given that, in years past, millions of dollars of FAFSA funds have gone unused simply because high school students did not complete the application.
As University of Findlay’s first female president, and having served in that role for the past 11 years, Dr. Fell believes in investing not only in UF’s success, but in the success of all Ohioans. She stated, “Ohio’s completion rate of education beyond high school must be higher to meet workforce needs and to prepare our citizens for productive lives.”
Dr. Fell remains committed to providing an outstanding learning environment for students. She currently serves as chair for the Great Midwest Athletic President’s Council; is a member of the Executive Committee for the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Ohio and a board member for Ohio Campus Compact; and, most recently, Governor DeWine appointed her to the Ohio Humanities Council.