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October 28, 2004 :: Grants Designed to Help Colleges and Universities Produce More Graduates

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Record enrollments have continued for the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education. That is great news for the state. But coupled with that growth is the task of making sure those students remain in college and complete their degrees.

To help increase retention and graduation rates and degrees earned across the state, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education have awarded Brain Gain improvement grants totaling nearly $750,000 to 10 institutions. The grants range from $22,200 for Northwestern Oklahoma State University, Alva, to $105,134 for Oklahoma Panhandle State University, Goodwell.

“Twenty-one institutions submitted proposals requesting more than $1.7 million,” Chancellor Paul G. Risser said. “We appreciate all of the efforts our institutions are putting forth to improve their retention and graduation rates, and we look forward to helping them meet their goals and objectives.”

Other institutions that will be receiving Brain Gain improvement grants include Cameron University, Lawton ($98,500); Connors State College, Warner ($68,500); East Central University, Ada ($89,566); Eastern Oklahoma State College, Wilburton ($58,000); Northeastern State University, Tahlequah ($75,000); Oklahoma City Community College ($70,000); Oklahoma State University, Stillwater ($98,500); and Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Durant ($64,000).

Risser said that every institution could have applied for a Brain Gain improvement grant; however, those institutions which have had difficulty reaching their Brain Gain performance targets were given priority, as well as efforts designed to improve retention and graduation rates of student populations that have historically low rates in Oklahoma.

The State Regents used two out-of-state experts with backgrounds in research and planning to review the proposals and rate them according to criteria developed by the State Regents.