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Board of Trustees praise Drake, pass budget

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University President Michael Drake sits on a panel during his college affordability tour August 13 in Urbana, Ohio. Credit: Michael Huson

University President Michael Drake sits on a panel during his college affordability tour August 13 in Urbana, Ohio. Credit: Michael Huson

After a little more than one year on the job, University President Michael Drake’s efforts to reduce student debt helped him receive high marks Friday during his 2015 performance review by the Ohio State Board of Trustees.

College affordability was among three key areas that “underpin” OSU’s academic mission, which also outlined exemplifying inclusiveness and diversity, engaging with community partners and reducing student debt.

In July, the board approved a tuition freeze for in-state students, and Drake announced affordability grants for qualifying low- and middle-income students. The grants reach about 12,400 students.

Before the August meeting, OSU had already planned to cut $200 million of general expenditures university wide over the next five years while simultaneously increasing revenue by $200 million.

Drake also spent time this summer on a tour of affordability summits outside Columbus, where he spoke with local community and business leaders, parents and students about college affordability aspects of OSU’s “2020 Vision.”

“One thing that was really great about the tour was that we were able to meet some of the recipients of our new affordability grants,” Drake said on Friday. “Overall, we’ve been able to afford an affordability grant to at least one student in all of Ohio’s 88 counties.”

Actions approved by the board include:

Budget for Fiscal Year 2016

The board approved the fiscal year 2016 university budget, which includes $5.5 billion in total university operating expenses.

Within operating expenses, salaries comprised $2.4 billion, benefits comprised $763 million and student aid comprised of $144 million.

Supplies, services and other expenses, not including fee authorizations and depreciation, total $1.7 billion.

The fiscal year 2016 university operating expenses listed in the budget  a 6.1 percent increase compared to projected spending in 2015.

Total university operating revenues comprise $4.9 billion for fiscal year 2016, which is a 5.8 percent rise compared to 2015.

Construction Contracts

The board approved the university to enter into or increase six construction and service contracts for the Columbus campus.

  • Renovation and upgrades to the Brain and Spine Hospital at 300 W. 10th Ave. $13 million.
  • Renovation of Mount Hall to consolidate and house together locations for the Office of the Chief Information Officer and the Office of Distance Education. $11.1 million.
  • “North expansion and concourse renovation” of the Schottenstein Center. $4.5 million.
  • Construction of the Student-Athlete Development Center in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. $3 million.
  • Professional service contracts for the Covelli Multi-Sport Arena on Ackerman Road, which will host fencing, wrestling, gymnastics and volleyball competitions. $3 million.
  • Professional service contracts totaling $400,000 to develop a natural hazards plan, as well as a flood mitigation and implementation plan were approved.

Capital Investment Program

The board approved $326 million in spending for projects to which the university is already committed in the 2016 fiscal year.

This includes $137 million projected to be spent on North Residential District construction, $13 million for the Jameson Crane Sports Medicine Institute and $6 million for the East Regional Chilled Water Plant. It also includes a “roll up of other previously approved projects” totaling $159 million.

Projected prior commitment spending is totaled at $796 million between fiscal year 2016 and 2020.

The board also approved a projected $16 million in spending on 12 new projects for fiscal year 2016.

This included a total of $9 million in spending on two renovation phases of the Veterinary Medical Center, as well as the Covelli Multi-Sport Arena and the Schottenstein Concourse renovations and new offices.

Projected new project spending is totaled at $254 million between fiscal year 2016 and 2020.


  1. $2.4 billion in salaries, and my raise this year was $700 a year. Gee, I wonder where all that money went (faculty)!!!!!?????

  2. I hope Dr. Drake and the trustees are happy with the way they handled the Jon Waters case, because there are a LOT of people who feel he was given shabby treatment from the beginning. This situation is downright WRONG and cannot be swept under the rug, as they would wish. They can expect to hear about it for many years to come… or until justice is done.

  3. Wow, $2.4 billion in salaries, and my raise this year was $700 a year. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grafeful for the raise, but, I think they can afford a little more than $700 a year for staff, seeing as though faculty get thousands a year in raises.

  4. Dr. Drake seems to have aged quite a bit in the last 12 months. I don’t believe I have never seen a genuine smile on his face. I wonder why?

    Dr. Gee seemed to get younger every year and always looked like today was the best day of his life. All while changing OSU from a backup plan option into a first-choice, world class institution of higher learning.

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