“We want to express our appreciation to Gov. Stitt and our Legislature for providing a total appropriation of $802,070,058 for public higher education for FY20, which represents a 3.3% increase above the current FY19 budget. Moving forward, this increased appropriation will enable the State Regents and our 25 public colleges and universities to enhance our focus on providing our students a quality, affordable higher education opportunity while at the same time addressing our state‚Äôs business and industry workforce needs.

“Data clearly show that states with a higher percentage of college degree-holders have higher per capita incomes and stronger economies. Our higher education system has kept tuition and fees affordable and is recognized in the most recent U.S. News & World Report publication as having the 12th-lowest tuition and fees and 13th-lowest student debt level at graduation in the nation. Student debt at our public colleges and universities is 22% below the national average, and more than half of our students graduate with no student loan debt. These significant accomplishments demonstrate higher education‚Äôs continued commitment to college accessibility, affordability, efficiency, and cost savings.

“A January 2019 report from the State Chamber Research Foundation shows that for every dollar of state appropriations invested, public higher education generates $9.40 in economic output. We will continue to make the case that higher education is the best investment our policy leaders can make to ensure a stronger and more diversified economy in Oklahoma.”