The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education voted Thursday to request $1.1 billion in state funding for FY25, which reflects an increase of $122.4 million or 12.2% over the FY24 appropriation of $1 billion.
“The state system of higher education is focused on supporting student success and increasing college degree completion in high-demand fields,” said State Regents’ chair Jack Sherry. “Our FY25 budget request reflects continued investment to meet growing workforce needs for engineers, computer scientists, teachers, nurses, and other healthcare professionals.”
The State Regents are requesting $9.5 million for FY25 to fund the Inspired to Teach program and expand concurrent enrollment.
Public higher education’s budget request also includes strategic investments that align with Oklahoma’s projected workforce demand in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and healthcare and focus on increasing adult degree completion. The State Regents seek $41.5 million for critical workforce development initiatives, including funds to increase enrollment and graduation in STEM disciplines, expand nursing education program and medical residency capacity to address the state’s shortage of nurses and doctors, and provide additional scholarships for adult students nearing completion of a college degree or pursuing an industry-recognized micro-credential or certificate.
“Producing more college graduates to address Oklahoma’s employer needs is our top priority and central to the success of our Blueprint 2030 strategic plan,” said Chancellor Allison D. Garrett. “This budget request builds on successful workforce development initiatives and supports academic and operational innovations at our public colleges and universities.”
The State Regents also seek $71.4 million in FY25 to fund performance-based institutional allocations to address operational needs, address rising risk management costs, strengthen college access and academic success services for students, and fund strategic collaborations and shared services to drive long-term efficiencies across the state system. The budget request includes capital funding for system and structure upgrades to enhance campus safety and cybersecurity.
Another priority for the State Regents in the upcoming legislative session is refining Oklahoma’s Promise to reduce administrative barriers to scholarship access and participation. Strategies may include streamlining high school course requirements, implementing an adjustable formula for eligibility income limits, and developing an appeal process to assist students facing unique circumstances to ensure no qualified student is excluded.
Recognized by many as one of the top promise scholarship programs in the country, Oklahoma’s Promise is considered a national model that emphasizes both academic preparation and financial support for college. More than 100,000 students have earned college tuition scholarships through Oklahoma’s Promise since the program’s inception. For more information about Oklahoma’s Promise or to apply online, visit https://okpromise.org/.