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2022 Legislative Agenda

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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. The last Employment Outcomes Report showed that 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 43% over the last decade. Funding requested for FY 2023 will support 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 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.

Nationally Recognized Affordability

U.S. News and World Report 2021 rankings place Oklahoma tuition and fees and student debt at graduation as 11th-lowest in the nation.

Concurrent Enrollment

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

FY 2022 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 2023 would require an additional $4 million in investment.

Total Cost of Concurrent Enrollment Program, FY 2017-23

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: $13,516,350; total funding requirement: $13,516,350.

FY 2023 – Current appropriation: $13,516,350; total funding requirement: $17,500,000.

Task Force on the Future of Higher Education

Oklahoma higher education 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. To date, progress in implementing Task Force recommendations includes:

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 14 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.

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 15,000 students and has been named by the Southern Regional Education Board as a top promise scholarship program in the nation. Nearly 98,000 Oklahoma students have met the eligibility requirements and earned the scholarship since the program’s inception.

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

Graduation rates at every tier in Oklahoma higher education have risen significantly over the last decade. In 2019-20, the largest portion of bachelor’s degrees conferred – more than 26% – was in STEM fields. That reflects a 10-year increase of more than 63% in STEM bachelor’s degree production.

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. A dedicated website, ShowWhatYouKnowOK.org, empowers students to earn college credit for knowledge gained through prior work experiences, military training, non-degree granting institutions, and other learning environments. More than 10,000 degrees have been awarded through Reach Higher since the initiative's inception in 2007.

Contact

Allison D. Garrett, Chancellor
agarrett@osrhe.edu

Dr. Jarrett Jobe, Vice Chancellor for Governmental Relations, jjobe@osrhe.edu

Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education
405.225.9122
www.okhighered.org