Across our state, students attend a variety of higher education institutions including state universities, community colleges, university branches campuses, and technical colleges. These students often invest thousands of dollars and years of personal savings to enhance their future. For this reason, it is critical that we hold our state’s higher education institutions accountable.

Recently, the Ohio House passed legislation to enhance the accountability of Ohio’s higher education system. House Bill 384 furthers this accountability by authorizing the Auditor of State to conduct a performance audit of state colleges and universities.

Under this proposed legislation, when an audit is conducted the Auditor of State determines the purpose of the audit and considers supervisory and subordinate operations within the university. These audits would be done at the discretion of the auditor, much like state agency performance audits. 

Additional provisions included in House Bill 384 provide that the state institutions undergoing these audits must accept comments regarding the performance audit from interested parties, and must make all of the comments public.

These institutions must also implement recommendations given within three months of the comment period. Should a college want to forgo implementing the suggested changes, they must file a report detailing their reasoning to the Governor, Auditor of State, as well as the Ohio House and Senate leadership.

The reality of the situation in Ohio, and all across the nation, is that the cost of tuition for college is drastically increasing, along with the size of faculty and staff working at these institutions. While it is important to ensure our colleges and universities are successful in educating and preparing students, it is also important that they are achieving the results in the most fiscally responsible manner.

By creating the means for performance audits to be conducted, we are adding a layer of protection to safeguard students from bearing the cost for frivolous spending. Although this is not the ultimate solution needed to lower the cost of a college degree, it is certainly a valuable step in the right direction for Ohio’s higher education system.

As always, I encourage you to share your input on Ohio’s colleges and universities, or any other state issue, by contacting my office at or (614) 466-9091.

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