July 7, 2005 :: State Colleges Receive Extra Funding for Graduating More Students
Oklahoma’s public colleges and universities will share performance funds of $2.2 million in 2005-06 for keeping more of their students in college and graduating them.
As part of their Brain Gain performance funding policy, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education will allocate the funds as a reward for institutions that have shown an improvement in their retention or graduation rates. The program is based on the State Regents’ Brain Gain 2010 initiative they created in 1999 in an attempt to increase the percentage of degree holders in Oklahoma to at least the national average.
According to the most recent data, during the 2003-04 school year Oklahoma colleges awarded 1,163 more associate and bachelor’s degrees than the previous year. Graduation rates have increased within the last five years across the state system, especially at the state’s two research institutions, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, and the University of Oklahoma, Norman. Oklahoma has also moved from 47th to 42nd in the nation for the percentage of the population age 25 or older with bachelor’s degrees.
“In order for our state to prosper, our students must be properly prepared for college and for this knowledge-based, technology-driven marketplace. It is imperative that our institutions continue finding or developing new and innovative ways to keep their students on track to graduate,” Chancellor Paul G. Risser said.
The State Regents also report that retention rates have been relatively stable at OSU, OU and the regional universities but inconsistent at the community colleges.
Besides the $2.2 million, the State Regents will budget $1.8 million in FY2006 to support campus-based initiatives designed to enhance colleges’ retention, graduation and degree-completion efforts as well as innovation and creativity.
“There is nothing more important than our state colleges and universities producing more graduates who are ready for the 21st century marketplace,” State Regent Jimmy Harrel said.