Our actions should speak louder than our words. When I recently proposed that The Ohio State University freeze in-state tuition for the 2013-2014 academic year to address the very real financial needs of our students and their families, I had in mind students like Amy Meeks.
An undergraduate student from Gallipolis, a small town of 3,600 tucked into the rolling Appalachian foothills along the Ohio River, Amy works twenty hours every week while pursuing a degree in human nutrition.
Just one of more than 13,000 students who works at the university to help pay for college, Amy said her feelings about the in-state tuition freeze were simple: "It is a huge relief. I pay for my food and rent on my own, and knowing tuition will not be any higher next year will help a lot."
The decision to freeze tuition was by no means an easy decision, nor was it one made lightly. But for students like Amy struggling to shoulder the financial burden of college, I strongly believed that we needed to do it.
While this freeze is far from a single solution to the problem of affordability, it is a symbol of Ohio State's historic commitment to access. We are seizing this moment to hold the line on tuition for tens of thousands of Ohio students and, in doing so, leaving millions of dollars on the table. We can take this step only because of the framework built by many: innovative funding strategies such as leasing our parking operations, generous private donors who gave $365 million last year, a new state formula that rewards graduation, as well as the support of our governor and state legislature.
Many institutions may not be able to follow in our tracks, but I felt the time was right for Ohio State to take this bold stand. There is a shared belief in higher education: The students are our guiding light. We believe steadfastly in the bright young people who walk through our front doors each day. Our calling is to enable these students to be successful in their lives. We owe them a quality education, and one delivered at an affordable price. With our words and our actions, we are putting students first at Ohio State.