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November 13, 2003 :: Biggest Share of State Regents’ Budget Comes From Non-State Sources

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In a hearing Monday with higher education officials, Oklahoma House of Representatives members learned that the bulk of the funding for Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education operations and programs comes from non-state sources. They also heard of the many ways that higher education assists secondary schools.

The budget for the State Regents includes significant federal funding for administering the Oklahoma Guaranteed Student Loan Program and for student preparation programs that benefit students in secondary schools. In addition, OneNet, Oklahoma’s telecommunications and information network for education and government, receives only 16 percent of its budget from the state. OneNet provides high-tech connections for many schools, libraries and career technology centers around the state, particularly in rural areas.

In total, only 25 percent of the State Regents’ overall budget comes from state appropriations.
Chancellor Paul G. Risser presented detailed budget information to the General Conference Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Education and provided an overview of the State Regents’ goals and collaborative partnerships with secondary schools and others.

“I was pleased to provide the committee with the details about our budget,” said Risser following the meeting. “There was a great deal of interest overall and good questions about the budget. Our institutions have been doing a great job of dealing with record-high enrollments, and state appropriations that are at the level they were four years ago. We will continue to work with the legislature and governor to fund our institutions, scholarships and other programs at the appropriate levels.”

Risser also provided detailed information about the systemwide budget needs for fiscal year 2005.
Record college enrollment and the growing participation in the OHLAP (Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program) scholarship program are among the items that are driving a requested total budget increase of $134.6 million in new funding for FY 05.

The bulk of the requested increase would go to the top priority, state colleges and universities, which require $73.9 million in new operating funds. The second priority, scholarships, will require $12.8 million in new funding, with OHLAP receiving $8.2 million.

The requested $73.9 million in new funding for institutions covers six main areas:

The requested increase for OHLAP funding is necessary because of the continued rise in eligible students throughout the state. OHLAP students tend to perform better in virtually all aspects, especially high school GPA, ACT scores and college degree completion.

The State Regents have also submitted a revised supplemental request for the current fiscal year. The revised request totals $27.4 million and includes $8.2 million for OHLAP. Other revised supplemental requests for this fiscal year include $10 million for endowed chairs, $8.4 million one-time stipends for 5,616 faculty positions and $760,000 in required matching funds for the Langston University experiment station and extension service.