Senior VP David Creamer testimony to Ohio House Committee

Ohio House of Representatives – House Finance Committee
H.B. No. 64
Testimony of Dr. David K. Creamer
Sr. Vice President for Finance and Business Services
Miami University
Chairman Smith, Ranking Member Driehaus and members of the House Finance Committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify before you today with respect to tuition caps and providing a 2% cap for all public universities. My name is David Creamer and I am the Sr. Vice President for Finance & Business Services for Miami University.

Miami is committed to holding down costs while continuing to improve on the record we have as one of the most accomplished public universities in the nation. Our board believes that tuition increases should be no more than the cost of inflation and we’ve built our current budget, and based our projections for future budgets, on that premise.

As such, Miami is opposed to the current language that sets a $200 cap on tuition and requests that the 2% cap language as proposed by the Governor be reinserted into H.B. No. 64.

We understand the investment students attending Miami make and we strive to provide them with a high quality return on that investment. No one gets more out of every tuition dollar than Miami. In fact, U.S. News & World Report this year ranked Miami as 1st in the nation - among public and private universities - for “efficiently spending their limited resources in order to produce the highest possible educational quality.” We are extremely proud of this recognition and our move from number two in the country last year to number one this year. Credit goes to the incredible commitment and focus of our faculty and staff. We accomplish these results despite a financial base that provides us with less funding per student than the average of our national peer group.

We understand that students considering whether to attend Miami have many highly-regarded national universities from which to select. We believe that these students and their families weigh the quality of the expected experience with the potential cost and then make an informed decision as to where to enroll. For this fall, we have applications from 27,000 high-ability students from across the nation for 3,550 spots.

These students and families recognize the quality of a Miami education. They appreciate the high probability of being able to graduate in four years, of receiving a high-quality experience that will serve them not just in landing their first job, but for a lifetime. Miami is producing the quality results that attract these students and their families to both Miami and Ohio.

Students and families are excited to learn that:

• Nearly 98% of Miami University students who graduated August 2013-May 2014 were employed or in graduate school by fall of 2014. Additionally, the majority of working alumni from this group reported salaries between $40,000 - $69,999 in their first year. 

• Miami has the 13th highest four-year graduation rate for public universities nationally with a median time to graduation of only 3.7 years. 

• Miami ranks 1st among public universities nationally (2nd among all universities) for its exceptionally strong commitment to undergraduate teaching. 2015 U.S. News & World Report. This is the fifth straight year Miami has been recognized.

• The Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 recognizes Miami University for its “high caliber of student body” and “professors’ knowledge and willingness to help” in its “Best and Most Interesting Colleges and Universities” list. 

• Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine listed Miami as one of the “100 Best Values in Public Colleges” for 2015, ranking Miami 55th nationally. Miami has appeared on the list since it was first published in 1998. 

• ranks Miami 41st in the nation for mid-career salary potential among state universities. Miami graduates reported a median starting salary of $47,300 and a median mid-career salary of $87,200 in a survey.

• Faculty and skilled instructors (not graduate students) teach 94% of undergraduate credit hours at Miami – the highest of any public university in the state. 

• Students are not charged an over load fee and may take as many hours as they like without paying additional tuition.

We continually look for ways to reduce costs while maintaining quality. When budget reductions have been necessary, we have always acted with the best interests of our students in mind and with the thought of how we can produce even better results for our students. When confronted with the devastating economic recession of the past years we worked together to think long-term while addressing the urgencies of the short-term. During that time, we eliminated more than 400 staff and administrative positions, and reduced our core budget by over $40 million dollars. We have adopted LEAN management strategies throughout the university with more than 1,450 individuals, including our President, trained in using these strategies to design new approaches to our activities that are more efficient or more effective, and in most cases both. Through the Lean process we have made more than $27.2 million in cost and revenue improvements. These are in addition to the $40 million in reductions.

There are additional recognitions that I could share with the Committee that would further demonstrate the value of a Miami education and the return on investment for our students, their families and the state. For example the impact of out-of-state and international undergraduate student spending in Ohio during 2013-2014, was more than $210 million. However, in the interest of time I will conclude by respectfully asserting that Miami University is delivering the high quality results that students, families and the state desire.

We encourage you to provide us with the tools and the flexibility necessary for us to continue to provide a high quality experience to our students. Accordingly, we request that you strike the language in the current sub bill and reinsert the tuition cap language that was included in the as introduced version of H.B. No. 64.

Thank you.