More than ever, more education means more pay.
Nursing and related fields now outpace teacher education in popularity among graduating seniors, with emerging fields in law enforcement and leisure/fitness showing strong growth. Business and STEM fields, not shown, are static.
Ohio has closely tracked the US average of the share of high school students who graduate and continue on to college, but there is room for improvement.
Of the states where more than half of the high school graduates take the ACT, Ohio ranks fourth.
Ohio nonprofit colleges and universities, for the fourth straight year, contributed more than $2 billion in employee salaries and fringe benefits to local economies.
In Ohio, bachelor's degree in nursing now outnumber associate degrees, and master's degrees have more than tripled in the last decade.
As Ohio's educational attainment has climbed, so also has per capita income, but there is still room for improvement.
The nation's high school-age population - the near-term source of most colleges' and universities' future enrollment - is shrinking, and Ohio's is shrinking faster than the nation.
Endowment values showed just a marginal increase in the most recently reported year, less than one percent.
Institutional awards at Ohio independent colleges are the largest, and still growing, part of student financial aid grants, now surpassing $1 1/4 billion annually.
Thanks to an increased appropriation and better usage analysis, awards in the need-based Ohio College Opportunity Grant program will increase by 9.3 percent next academic year.
Ohio public universities are increasingly resorting to institutional grants to attract first-year students.
In the last 11 years, the annual number of bachelor's degrees in education awarded in Ohio has shrunk by one fourth.
Over the last ten years at Ohio's four-year colleges and universities, the share of entering undergraduates who are either part-time or transfers has been growing in both independent and public sectors.
Despite increases in allocation and expenditures, state aid to students attending Ohio independent colleges and universities is just half of what it was in 2006-07.
A similar pattern holds for each sector individually, whether public, nonprofit, for-profit, 2-year, or 4-year: lower federal loan volume.
Net tuition and fees at independent colleges, accounting for inflation, are lower than they were a decade ago.
Except for part-time undergraduates, the share of students attending Ohio independent colleges and universities who are Ohio residents is dropping.
Maximum award levels in the federal Pell Grant program for needy college students have nearly doubled in the last 15 years.
In both the public and independent 4-year sectors, the undergraduate student body in Ohio is less female and more male than the nation's as a whole.
Ohio veterans using education benefits from the VA have doubled since the beginning of the Post 9-11 program in 2010.
After the state cut financial aid six years ago, Ohio nonprofit colleges have stepped up to meet their students' financial needs.
Overall Ohio enrollment in fall 2014 fell by 11,600 students, with the largest loss occurring among the state's community and technical colleges, which were down by almost 8,500.
Despite improved economic conditions that have reduced the number of eligible students, recipients meeting Ohio's stringent requirements for need-based student aid still exceed those from 2010-11 by more than 10 percent.
The Executive Budget's marginal increase in the Ohio College Opportunity Grant program will be swallowed up by new eligibility for year-round students at two-year campuses.
As is occurring nationwide, certain postgraduate professional degrees are declining in Ohio.
Students attending Ohio independent colleges have had their financial aid srom the state of Ohio slashed by more than half in the last decade.
Ohio independent colleges have worked to hold down student costs over the last 25 years.
Despite increases in award amounts in both Pell and Ohio College Opportunity Grants, Ohio's poorest students still have an out of pocket cost at a public university nearly four times higher than they had six years ago.
Despite the challenges facing today's college graduates, the value of a college degree has remained near its all-time high, while the time required to recoup the costs of the degree has remained near its all-time low.
Graph and quotation from Abel and Deitz, "The Value of a College Degre," on the Liberty Street Economics weblog published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
The entire article is available here.
Among the benefits of attending an independent college: you are among the least likely to have trouble paying off your student loans.
Despite recent marginal increases, appropriations for need-based financial aid from the state of Ohio are lower than they were during the first year of Gov. George Voinovich's second term - even without accounting for inflation.
In the five years since the radical cuts in state need-based aid, the net cost for a poor student to attend the average Ohio public university has more than quadrupled.
Over the last decade an increasing number of students from overseas study in Ohio, and last year they contributed 3/4 of a billion dollars to the state's and nation's economy.
The conundrum continues: Ohio's educational attainment is higher than the US average at the high school level, but lower at the baccalaureate level, and the gaps stubbornly remain.
College readiness, as measured by standardized test scores, has been stagnant.
Unlike those of other sectors, independent colleges' student loan defualt rates (the percentage of students who are more than 270 days delinquent within two years of entering repayment) did not rise in the most recent federal data.
States generally, and Ohio in particular, have failed to return need-based financial aid to anything approaching pre-recession levels.
An increase in appropriation directed toward needy public-sector students, along with an anticipated increase in eligible students in the independent sector and decrease in the public, led to changed award levels for the Ohio College Opportunity Grant for the coming academic year.
Enrollment in Ohio law schools have fallen 20 percent since their high point in 2004.
Four-year graduation rates have increased in Ohio's public sector, principally because of Ohio State's 14-year climb to the overall independent-college rate.
Ohio continues to lag the nation and its regional peers in the percentage of adults seeking bachelor's degrees.
The "sequester" will have no effect on the Pell Grant level for the 2013-14 academic year.
The nation as a whole is catching up to Ohio's chance-for-college rate.
Newly published data supports the view that a generational shift in students' attitude toward college as technical or occupational training has occurred.
While independent colleges have long offered financial aid grants from their own resources, the state's public campuses - their tuition already lowered by taxpayer-funded institutional subsidies - are increasingly using merit-based and other grants for their own enrollment management purposes.
Although bachelor's degrees overall in the U.S. increased by one third during the last decade, degrees in STEM did not keep pace - including a 10 percent drop in degrees in computer science - and degrees in education actually fell.
Despite recent reporting on the topic, mandatory fees charged to undergraduates at Ohio State University and four other Ohio public main campuses have gone up faster than their legislatively capped tuition.
Success rates at colleges and universities not only vary over time, but by sector.
Although AICUO members' endowments have recovered almost to their FY2008 levels, half are valued at $26 million or less.
Over the last two decades, while the states' commitment to student financial aid, measured in constant dollars, doubled, Ohio's dropped by 40 percent.
Graduation rates - the share of new full-time freshman who earn their bachelor's degrees from the campus where they started - have remained steady at Ohio's independent colleges despite the economic challenges students now face.
There is only slight improvement in next year's grants for Ohio's neediest students.
The patterns of increases in undergraduate tuition and fees at Ohio's public and independent colleges have varied markedly over the recent past, especially as legislative caps on public campuses change.
As of last year, men above age 50 were better educated, and women below age 50.
Ohio has under-funded need-based student aid for decades, but policy initiatives from two years ago have made the problem more acute than ever.
Ohio's independent colleges held the line on tuition increases this year, compared to their peers in the Midwest region.
Bachelor's degrees in STEM fields awarded in Ohio have grown 20 percent in the last decade.
To obtain well-paying jobs in demand by employers, college education is increasingly necessary, and particularly bachelorÂ¹s degrees, as nearly all the expansion in jobs needing just an associate degree is in one field, nursing.
The repeal two years ago of the Student Choice Grant, which supported Ohioans attending in-state independent colleges, eliminated a key incentive for students to stay in their home state for their education.
In its recently enacted budget, the state of Ohio kept the Ohio College Opportunity Grant alive, but could not return its level of support for needy students to its level of just three years ago.
The state of Ohio budget now under consideration by the state Senate gives a larger share of the state's higher education budget to student financial aid in the next two years.
Unlike at the state's public and independent nonprofit colleges, the share of expenditures dedicated to instruction at Ohio's for-profit colleges has fallen over the last decade.
Newly proposed changes in the Ohio College Opportunity Grant for the next two academic years will cut the state's support for its poorest students attending independent colleges by nearly two thirds over this year, and nearly seven eighths over just three years.
Over the 25 academic years ending in 2019-20, the gap between women and men in bachelor's degrees awarded in the US will have nearly tripled.
In six years, the number of degrees awarded in teacher education in Ohio has dropped by nearly one in four.
Even the fall 2009 spike in Ohio community-college enrollment - which followed the lifting of the two-year tuition freeze - can be accounted for, like most of the recent past, by a change in the state's unemploymnet rate.
Recent data is consistent with Ohio's longstanding conundrum: Its population is better educated that the nation's at the the high school level, but less well educated at the bachelor's degree level.
The nation's public colleges and universities are catching on to something that independents have been focusing on for years: using grant aid from their own resources to meet student need.
Another benefit of a better-educated citizenry is behavior correlated with better health.
While a growing percentage of younger adults in Ohio and in the nation as a whole are in college or graduate school, the share of older adults continuing their education still lags.
No one is proud of the number of students who default on their student loans, especially those shown here who default within two years of leaving college, but there is considerable variation within higher education sectors.
Although bachelor's and advanced degrees are not required for nursing practice, the number of these degrees has skyrocketed over the last decade.
Young women not only are more likely to have finished their bachelor's degrees, but to have continued to master's and higher degrees.
As larger numbers of younger women enter and complete graduate school, their overall share of those with advanced degrees have rapidly increased.
Ohio State's major effort to "enhance the quality of its undergraduate student population"* - using millions of dollars in merit aid and recruitment expenditures to raise the ACT scores of entering freshmen - props up the sector-wide rate of on-time bachelor's degree completions at Ohio's public universities. Even so, Ohio State and the public sector lag behind the independent sector in this important success measure.
Women have been a sizeable majority of the bachelor's degree recipients in Ohio for two decades, but graduating classes of men are now 18 percent larger than they were in 2001-02, increasing their share of the awards.
Major cuts in financial aid and other higher education infrastructure resulted in a precipitous falloff in support this year to Ohio's public and independent colleges and universities and their students.
Over the long term, women have earned a growing share of bachelor's degrees in the "STEM" - science, technology, engineering, and mathematics - fields. However, the growth has been unevenly distributed among the STEM disciples.
Ohio's commitment to its neediest college students will continue to shrink in the next academic year.
Although a small group for now, speakers of Spanish, whether born here or elsewhere, represent Ohio's fastest-growing demographic, now totaling more than 300,000 residents.
For the first time in this decade, more than half of entering first-year students in 2009 secured "aid that must be repaid" - i.e., loans - to support their college education.
For more information, visit the Freshman Survey section of the Higher Education Research Institution at the University of California at Los Angeles: www.heri.ucla.edu.
In the decade of the '00s, bachelor's degree production at Ohio's independent colleges has grown by 20 percent, and overall degrees by 25 percent.
Women already make up an increasing share of students at higher education institutions, and projections for the next decade point toward this trend continuing.
Cuts in need-based student aid in Ohio threaten the state's continued improvement in college participation among its low-income residents.
Colleges around the state are now scrambling to help this fall's students, many of whom face thousands of dollars in state financial aid cuts.
Ohio independent colleges and universities have been able to educate increasing numbers of students from their home state, thanks to state programs such as the Student Choice Grant. The future with much more limited funding is cloudy.
American increasingly recognize that college education is essential to success.
In 20 years, the value added to the paycheck by having a bachelor's degree over a high school diploma has increased more than 25 cents on the dollar.
A recent, sudden decrease in freshman-to-sophomore retention at four-year campuses is accented by a precipitous fall in 2008 in the public sector.
Annual Rates of Change
Average Tuition and Fees at AICUO Member Institutions v. U.S. National Health Expenditures (1997 to 2007)
Sources: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Actuary, National Health Statistics Group; AICUO Annual Tuition and Fees Survey
Broad-scale misunderstanding about higher education costs is one of the key problems colleges and universities face. In a Public Agenda/National Center on Public Policy on Higher Education survey, almost half of those polled thought that college prices were going up as fast as health care costs - a perception that is simply wrong.
In the last two years, the enrollment growth the state needs to meet the governor's strategic higher education goals has been concentrated, by policy and by the numbers, in the state's public campuses.
Ohio's independent colleges educate more than their share of one of the state's targeted groups: undergraduates age 30 and over.
Independent College Share of Ohio Undergrads and Alumni
More than two thirds of the undergraduates at Ohio's independent colleges come from the Buckeye State - and more than two thirds of the graduates are still here three years after graduation.
Source: AICUO Annual Report Survey
Student Choice Grant Levels
Although the current state budget cut the Student Choice Grant for Ohio students at the state's independent colleges by almost a third, the grant still removes more than $2,500 from a student's loan debt after four years of study.
Population Projection for 18- to 24-Year-Olds
It's not just the baby boom that's making Ohio Older.
As fewer Ohioans in the future will be of "traditional" college age, colleges and universities will need to add a new focus on adult learners.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau