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April 17, 2017, 07:41:44 AM

Support Builds for House Bill 384 - Would Expand Audits to Ohio's Public Colleges and Universities

January 20, 2016 - 1:00 AM

COLUMBUS – Support is growing for House Bill 384 to expand performance audits to Ohio’s public colleges and universities.

Key testimony provided today to the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee highlighted the merits of the legislation.  Those providing testimony included nationally-known economist Dr. Richard Vedder and Greg Lawson of The Buckeye Institute.  The bill passed out of the committee on a unanimous vote.

“Every dollar saved through a performance audit helps our universities control tuition costs for students,” Auditor Yost said.

“Performance audits have already saved Ohio’s state agencies millions of dollars, so taking a deeper look at the operations of our colleges and universities is just smart government.”

Dr. Richard Vedder, Distinguished Professor of Economics Emeritus at Ohio University, provided written proponent testimony in today’s hearing, saying, “The auditor can identify best practices and promote expanding them statewide.”

“The State Auditor now assures that universities spend money legally; additionally sometimes the Auditor needs to say if funds are being spent responsibly,” Dr. Vedder said.  “Higher education costs have skyrocketed, and powerful constituencies within universities sometimes promote spending that benefits a few but does not serve the broader social good. Performance auditing can help curb wasteful spending that increases the already too high cost of attending college.”

The Buckeye Institute provided interested party testimony and highlighted the Auditor of State’s expertise in finding ways to curb costs and helping entities become more efficient.

“Student debt loads are at a crisis level in Ohio and the U.S. at large.  Any and all ways to reduce the costs of Higher Education need to be examined as a way to relieve these back breaking loads on future Ohioans,” said Greg Lawson, Statehouse Liaison and Policy Analyst at The Buckeye Institute.  “Allowing the Auditor of State to conduct performance audits is not only a natural extension of authority the office already has with respect to other state agencies, but could be an instrumental tool in finding just such savings."

Sponsored by Representatives Tim Schaffer and Mike Duffey, House Bill 384 would amend current law and grant the Auditor of State’s office the authority to conduct performance audits of state institutions of higher education as one of the four required performance audits each biennium.  Like the performance audits of state agencies, institutions of higher education would be required to report to the General Assembly on any recommendations that are not implemented within three months after the end of the comment period.

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