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2021 Legislative Agenda

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FY 2022 Budget Need

FY 2021 Appropriation: $770,414,742

FY 2022 Budget Need:

  1. STEM Workforce Development Initiatives: $33,800,000
    1. Engineering workforce needs: $10,500,000
    2. Nursing workforce needs: $12,000,000
    3. Expand physician residency slots: $7,000,000
    4. Teacher education shortage needs: $2,500,000
    5. Develop microcredentials and rapid re-employment strategies: $1,800,000

  2. Operational Cost Increases: $30,800,000
    1. Systemwide mandatory fixed cost increases: $24,000,000
    2. Deferred maintenance for campus infrastructure (Section 13 Offset): $6,300,000
    3. STEM Summer Academies: $500,000

  3. Financial Aid and Scholarship Programs: $13,800,000
    1. Concurrent enrollment program: $4,000,000
    2. Restoration of scholarship programs: $7,800,000
      i. National Guard Tuition Waiver program: $2,000,000
      ii. TSEIP: $1,100,000
      iii. Oklahoma Tuition Aid Grant: $4,700,000
    3. Adult Degree Completion and Workforce Re-Entry Scholarship: $2,000,000

  4. Endowed Chairs State Matching Funds Debt Service ($161 million state match backlog): $10,420,000

FY 2022 Total Budget Need: $859,234,742

Endowed Chairs

The endowed chairs program, which supports faculty chairs, professorships and lectureships to improve the quality of instruction and research, has enabled colleges and universities to attract approximately $671 million in private gifts and develop meaningful public/private partnerships. Research clusters and disciplines include cancer, diabetes, mental health, neonatology, fire protection science, engineering, business, computer science, geophysics, chemistry, and meteorology. Currently, accounts in the backlog for state matching funds total $161 million for 17 institutions statewide.

Nationally Recognized Affordability

U.S. News and World Report ranks Oklahoma tuition and fees as 12th-lowest in the nation and student debt at graduation as 13th-lowest in the nation.

Workforce and Economic Development Initiatives

Higher education will further enhance its strong, data-driven connections between academic programs and high-growth, high-demand occupations and industries. More than 87% of our resident students who graduate with a bachelor’s degree are employed in the state one year after graduation. Degree and certificate program production in critical STEM disciplines has increased 54% over the last nine years. Workforce initiatives focus on continued growth in nursing, medicine, allied health, science, technology, engineering, teacher education and business.

Strategic innovations include development of microcredentials, alternative learning pathways directly aligned with high-demand skills requested by employers. Microcredentials help individuals adapt and succeed, equipping both students pursuing a degree and current degree-holders to fill critical workforce needs.

The State Regents support streamlining the process of sharing
workforce data with the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission
and Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education to
better serve the business community.

The economic impact of our state system of higher education cannot be overstated. Our public higher education system supported $8.2 billion in total economic output in FY 2016. For every dollar of state appropriations invested, the state system of higher education generates $9.40 in economic output.

Concurrent Enrollment

The concurrent enrollment program strengthens student preparation, reduces family college costs and decreases the time required to complete a degree.

Total Cost of Concurrent Enrollment Program, FY 2016-22

FY 2016 – Current appropriation: $5,409,345; total funding requirement: $7,107,446.

FY 2017 – Current appropriation: $5,198,248; total funding requirement: $8,272,114.

FY 2018 – Current appropriation: $2,820,800; total funding requirement: $10,583,014.

FY 2019 – Current appropriation: $10,216,349; total funding requirement: $11,760,637.

FY 2020 – Current appropriation: $13,500,000; total funding requirement: $13,500,000.

FY 2021 – Current appropriation: $12,982,900; total funding requirement: $13,684,299.

FY 2022 – Current appropriation: $12,982,900; total funding requirement: $16,982,900 (additional $4 million requested).

The FY 2019 higher education appropriation of $7.5 million for concurrent enrollment covered approximately 87% of the cost to state system colleges and universities, and FY 2020 funding provided the opportunity to fully fund concurrent enrollment for high school seniors. To fully fund concurrent enrollment for high school seniors and juniors in FY 2022 would require an additional $4 million investment.

Task Force on the Future of Higher Education

Work continues to implement the cost-saving, innovative strategies reflected in the recommendations issued by the State Regents’ Task Force on the Future of Higher Education in 2018. Advancements to date include completion of college and university long-term fiscal viability reviews, full funding for the concurrent enrollment program for high school seniors, initial implementation of systemwide predictive analytics, and development of a review protocol for Open Educational Resources for students.

Complementing Our State's Response to COVID-19

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, our public colleges and universities have prioritized the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and visitors while continuing to offer a top-quality, affordable learning environment. State system institutions have partnered with county health departments and donated Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) supplies to local hospitals and health care providers. OU Medicine, the OU Health Sciences Center, OSU Medicine and the OSU Center for Health Sciences have all played critical roles in research, testing and vaccine development, and both OU Medicine and OSU Medicine have served as designated COVID-19 hospitals. Additionally, the OU Health Sciences Center was engaged in early studies focused on utilizing convalescent plasma as a COVID-19 treatment protocol, the OSU Center for Health Sciences collaborated with OSU Veterinary Medicine to convert a veterinary medicine laboratory to a dedicated COVID-19 testing lab, and OSU Medicine has expanded health care access to underserved communities through increased use of telemedicine.

Oklahoma's Promise

The state system of higher education strongly supports preserving the dedicated funding source for the Oklahoma’s Promise scholarship, which provides college funding for approximately 17,000 students and has been named by the Southern Regional Education Board as a top promise scholarship program in the nation. More than 95,000 Oklahoma students have met the eligibility requirements and earned the scholarship since the program’s inception.

Maintain Current Law on Weapons on Campus

Oklahoma higher education supports the Second Amendment and gun ownership. Under current law, campus presidents have the discretion to authorize who may carry weapons on campus when the individual circumstances warrant it. The current law is working.

In the past 13 legislative sessions, bills have been introduced or discussed that would alter current law pertaining to weapons on campus. Each attempt has been successfully defeated to date, and ensuring similar legislation does not become law will continue to be a state system priority in partnership with the business community.

OneNet Drives Digital Learning Connectivity

OneNet provides the technology and connectivity necessary to support advanced higher education academic research and enhance the quality and delivery of online education opportunities in changing learning environments. OneNet operates Oklahoma’s most advanced research, education and technology network, providing the infrastructure required for high-speed broadband services at an equitable rate.

Increasing Degree Completion

Oklahoma’s public and private institutions and career technology centers continue working to reach the state’s goal of increasing the number of degrees and certificates earned through our Complete College America initiative. Despite budget cuts to public higher education exceeding 26% since inception of our state’s CCA initiative, degree and certificate completion has increased by more than 98% of the target benchmark to date.

Since joining the CCA initiative, the State Regents and our public colleges and universities have collaborated to transform developmental education. As a result, the direct-from-high school remediation rate has decreased from 40.1% to 34.6% since 2014.

The State Regents’ Reach Higher adult degree completion programs provide specialized advising and support systems to help adult students return and complete degrees in high-demand fields.

Complete College America

Research Universities — 2019 Graduation Rates: 69.7%; 2009 Graduation Rates: 64.6%.

Regional Universities — 2019 Graduation Rates: 39.2%; 2009 Graduation Rates: 35.4%.

Community Colleges — 2019 Graduation Rates: 22.2%; 2009 Graduation Rates: 16.3%.


Dr. Glen D. Johnson, Chancellor

LeeAnna McNally, Vice Chancellor for Governmental Relations

Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education