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May 25, 2007 :: State Regents Accept 2008 State Funding for Colleges, Universities

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Pending the governor’s signature, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education approved today $27 million in new funding for state colleges and universities, as part of the total $79.6 million in new funding for higher education for fiscal year 2008.

The remaining $54.6 million in new funding will be approved at a special State Regents meeting on June 15 and will include allocations to financial aid and other programs.

“We are pleased that the governor and the legislature were able to provide a permanent funding source for Oklahoma’s Promise-OHLAP, which was one of the top legislative priorities for the State Regents at the start of the legislative session. This legislation, Senate Bill 820, makes a very significant statement about Oklahoma's commitment to our students and underscores the importance and value of a college degree,” Chancellor Glen D. Johnson said. “We are also appreciative that we have been authorized to issue bonds for an additional $50 million for the endowed chairs program and that we received the necessary funding to cover the increased employer contribution to the Teacher’s Retirement System.”

During the 2007 legislative session, the State Regents had asked lawmakers for $170 million in new funding for campus operations and programs in higher education and an additional $75 million to support the endowed chairs program.

The $27 million in new funds for state colleges and universities will be added to $875.1 million based on last year’s operating projections.

The legislature appropriated a total of $1.1 billion for higher education for fiscal year 2008, a slight increase over last year’s appropriation of $1 billion.

For state colleges and universities, the next step is to apply their appropriations together with tuition and fees and other revolving funds income to formulate campus operating budgets for FY08. These operating budgets will be presented to the State Regents at their regularly scheduled June 28 meeting.

The State Regents also approved the reduction of allocations to state colleges and institutions for the remainder of this fiscal year. The approved reduction totals $6 million that will be shared among all institutions across the state toward their capital bond debt obligations. The reduction was necessary due to a shortfall in revenue appropriated for the FY07 Oklahoma Capital Improvement Authority bond debt. Higher education officials had asked lawmakers to pass a supplemental funding request to bridge the gap for the fiscal year, but the request failed to pass before the legislative session adjourned.