The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education today approved revised allocations for Oklahoma’s state system of higher education following the Office of State Finance’s declaration Sept. 10 of a general revenue shortfall for the current fiscal year.
As a result of the state-mandated reductions, higher education’s total state appropriations will be reduced by nearly $36.2 million from $851,255,612 to $815,095,077, a reduction of 4.25 percent.
“All public higher education institutions and nearly every program will see a reduction,” Chancellor Hans Brisch said. “These are very difficult times for our state, and we want to do our part. Obviously, some difficult decisions will have to be made, but we all must pull together and try to weather this storm.”
Brisch added that the state’s many financial aid programs, such as the Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program (OHLAP) and the Oklahoma Tuition Aid Grant (OTAG), would be exempt from reductions.
“The state made a commitment to Oklahoma students to help pay for their college expenses if they met certain requirements. They are keeping their end of the deal and we must also keep ours,” he said.
Besides the scholarship and financial aid programs, the State Regents also left three other small line items untouched: the Master Lease program, OCIA Bond Debt Service and the Academic Library databases. Funding for those items must continue at their full level, regardless of revenue shortfalls, Brisch said.