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State system overview  


Part 1: The State System

The Oklahoma State System of Higher Education is the state’s legal structure for providing public education at the collegiate level. It is a coordinated system of colleges and universities located throughout the state.

The State System is comprised of 25 colleges and universities – including two research universities, 10 regional universities, one public liberal arts university and 12 community colleges – and 11 constituent agencies and two higher education centers. The State System is coordinated by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, and each institution is governed by a board of regents.

Research Universities
Oklahoma State University
University of Oklahoma

Regional Universities
Cameron University
East Central University
Langston University
Northeastern State University
Northwestern Oklahoma State University
Oklahoma Panhandle State University
Rogers State University
Southeastern Oklahoma State University
Southwestern Oklahoma State University
University of Central Oklahoma

Public Liberal Arts University
University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

Community Colleges
Carl Albert State College
Connors State College
Eastern Oklahoma State College
Murray State College
Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College
Northern Oklahoma College
Oklahoma City Community College
Redlands Community College
Rose State College
Seminole State College
Tulsa Community College
Western Oklahoma State College

Constituent Agencies
OSU Agricultural Experiment Station
OSU Center for Health Sciences
OSU College of Veterinary Medicine
OSU Cooperative Extension Service
OSU Institute of Technology, Okmulgee
OSU-Oklahoma City
OSU-Tulsa
OU Geological Survey
OU Health Sciences Center
OU Law Center
OU-Tulsa

Higher Education Programs/Sites
Langston University, Oklahoma City
Northern Oklahoma College, Stillwater
OKC Downtown College
University Center at Ponca City
University Center of Southern Oklahoma

Establishment of the State System
The Oklahoma State System of Higher Education was established on March 11, 1941, when the people of the state adopted an amendment to the constitution, Article XIII-A, creating the State System. The amendment provides, "All institutions of higher education supported wholly or in part by direct legislative appropriations shall be integral parts of a unified system to be known as The Oklahoma State System of Higher Education."

Higher Education Defined
Higher education, as the term is used in Section I of Article XIII-A, Constitution of Oklahoma, and House Bill No. 810, Chapter 396, Section 102, Session Laws 1965, is defined "...to include all education of any kind beyond or in addition to the twelfth grade or its equivalent as that grade is now generally understood and accepted in the public schools of the State of Oklahoma; provided, however, that this shall not exclude as a constituent institution any institution of higher learning which now offers as a part of its curriculum courses of high school study."

Establishment of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education
"There is hereby established the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, consisting of nine (9) members appointed by the Governor, confirmed by the Senate, and who shall be removable only for cause, as provided by law for the removal of officers not subject to impeachment. Upon the taking effect of this Article, the Governor shall appoint the said Regents for terms of office as follows: one for a term of one year, one for a term of two years, one for a term of three years, one for a term of four years, one for a term of five years, one for a term of six years, one for a term of seven years, one for a term of eight years, and one for a term of nine years. Any appointment to fill a vacancy shall be for the balance of the term only. Except as above designated, the term of office of said Regents shall be nine years or until their successors are appointed and qualified.

"The Regents shall constitute a coordinating board of control for all State institutions described in Section 1 hereof, with the following specific powers: (1) it shall prescribe standards of higher education applicable to each institution; (2) it shall determine the functions and courses of study in each of the institutions to conform to the standards prescribed; (3) it shall grant degrees and other forms of academic recognition for completion of the prescribed courses in all of such institutions; (4) it shall recommend to the State Legislature the budget allocations to each institution, and (5) it shall have the power to recommend to the Legislature proposed fees for all of such institutions, and any such fees shall be effective only within the limits prescribed by the Legislature." (Oklahoma Constitution, Article XIII A, Section 2)

Institutions of Higher Education – Appropriations – Allocations
"The appropriations made by the Legislature for all such institutions shall be made in consolidated form without reference to any particular institution and the Board of Regents herein created shall allocate to each institution according to its needs and functions." (Oklahoma Constitution, Article XIII A, Section 3)

Coordination of Private, Denominational and Other Institutions of Higher Learning
"Private, denominational, and other institutions of higher learning may become coordinated with the State System of Higher Education under regulations set forth by The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education." (Oklahoma Constitution, Article XIII A, Section 4)

University and College Lands – Control of Institutions – Diversion of Funds
"Section thirteen in every portion of the state, which has been granted to the State, shall be preserved for the use and benefit of the University of Oklahoma and the University Preparatory School, one third; of the normal schools now established, or hereafter to be established, one third; and of the Agricultural and Mechanical College and Colored Agricultural and Normal University, one third. The said lands or the proceeds thereof as above apportioned to be divided between the institutions as the Legislature may prescribe: Provided, that the said lands so reserved, or the proceeds of the sale thereof, or of any indemnity lands granted in lieu of section thirteen shall be safely kept or invested and preserved by the State as a trust, which shall never be diminished, but may be added to, and the income thereof, interest, rentals, or otherwise, only shall be used exclusively for the benefit of said educational institutions. Such educational institutions shall remain under the exclusive control of the State and no part of the proceeds arising from the sale and disposal of any lands granted for educational purposes, or the income or rentals thereof, shall be used for the support of any religious or sectarian school, college, or university, and no portion of the funds arising from the sale of sections thirteen or any indemnity lands selected in lieu thereof, either principal or interest, shall ever be diverted, either temporarily or permanently, from the purpose for which said lands were granted to the State." (Oklahoma Constitution, Article XI, Section 5)

State Regents – Internal Organization – Staff
The state Legislature in 1941 vitalized Article XIII-A of the Constitution, providing for the internal organization of the agency. There is a chairman, vice chairman, secretary and assistant secretary, all of whom are elected annually by the membership of the State Regents. The law also provides for office staff and for the furnishing of suitable permanent quarters for the State Regents.

State Regents' Office
The work of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education is defined by constitutional provision, state statute or State Regents' policy delineating coordinating responsibility for the State System of Higher Education, including the areas of institutional functions, programs of study, standards of education and finances.

The Chancellor
The Chancellor is the chief executive officer for the State Regents and provides leadership for the State System. The work of the office serves the following functions: academic affairs; administration; board relations; budget and finance; legislative; economic development; student affairs; grants and scholarships; and the Oklahoma College Assistance Program.

Governing Boards of Regents
While the State Regents have responsibility for determining the functions and courses of study of each institution, setting standards of education and allocating funds to carry out institutional functions, the governing boards assume responsibility for the operation of the institutions, including:

Among specific areas of administration control for which the governing board assumes responsibility in operating an institution are:

The governing board, through its chief executive officer, the president of the institution, makes recommendations to the coordinating board, the State Regents, regarding the institutions’ functions and programs of study, standards of education, and the budgetary needs of the institution for both general operations and for capital improvements.

Institutional Governing Boards
There are currently three constitutional governing boards and 12 statutory boards. The constitutional boards are the Board of Regents for the Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical Colleges, the Regional University System of Oklahoma and the Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma.

Entities Governed by the Board of Regents for the Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical Colleges
Oklahoma State University, Stillwater
OSU Agricultural Experiment Station
OSU Center for Health Sciences
OSU College of Veterinary Medicine
OSU Cooperative Extension Service
OSU Institute of Technology, Okmulgee
OSU-Oklahoma City
OSU-Tulsa
Connors State College, Warner and Muskogee
Langston University, Langston, Oklahoma City and Tulsa
Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College, Miami
Oklahoma Panhandle State University, Goodwell

Entities Governed by the Regional University System of Oklahoma
East Central University, Ada
Northeastern State University, Tahlequah, Broken Arrow and Muskogee
Northwestern Oklahoma State University, Alva, Enid and Woodward
Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Durant and Idabel
Southwestern Oklahoma State University, Weatherford and Sayre
University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond

Entities Governed by the Regents of the University of Oklahoma
University of Oklahoma, Norman
OU Geological Survey, Norman
OU Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City
OU Law Center, Norman
OU-Tulsa
Cameron University, Lawton and Duncan
Rogers State University, Claremore, Bartlesville and Pryor

Statutory Governing Boards
Board of Regents of Carl Albert State College
Board of Regents of Eastern Oklahoma State College
Board of Regents of Murray State College
Board of Regents of Northern Oklahoma College
Board of Regents of Oklahoma City Community College
Board of Regents of Redlands Community College
Board of Regents of Rose State College
Board of Regents of Seminole State College
Board of Regents of Tulsa Community College
Board of Regents of the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma
Board of Regents of Western Oklahoma State College
Board of Trustees for the Quartz Mountain Arts and Conference Center and Nature Park

University Center Boards of Trustees
The boards of trustees for the University Center at Ponca City and the University Center of Southern Oklahoma act as the administrative agencies for the centers. Their powers include negotiating agreements with institutions for courses and programs, selecting a chief executive officer, budgeting and expending funds allocated to the center, acquiring and taking title to property and entering contracts.

Board of Trustees of the University Center at Ponca City
Board of Trustees of the University Center of Southern Oklahoma

Advisory Councils and Boards
The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education recognize the value of a formal structure for input from a wide variety of campus personnel. These key advisors represent each institution and assist the Regents, chancellor, Regents’ staff and others regarding issues and policies. There are nine advisory councils and boards.

Communicators Council
Council of Business Officers
Council on Information Technology
Council on Instruction
Council of Presidents
Council on Student Affairs
Economic Development Council
Faculty Advisory Council
Student Advisory Board