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State System Overview: A Guide to the History, Organization and Operation of the State System: Part Three*

Home ¬Ľ About the State System of Higher Education ¬Ľ State System Overview: A Guide to the History, Organization and Operation of the State System: Part Three*

Other Responsibilities and Programs

In addition to the responsibilities of the State Regents set forth in the Constitution, the Oklahoma Legislature has assigned the following to the coordinating board of control:

Federal Funds/Gifts/Scholarships. Accept federal funds/grants, accept and disburse grants, gifts and other money (foundations, individuals), and disburse scholarship funds and rewards for merit.

Allocation of Non-State Funds. Allocate revolving and other non-state appropriated E&G funds.

Property Transfer. Transfer from one institution to another any property belonging to such institutions when no longer needed by it and when needed by another institution to accomplish its functions.

Annual Report/Studies/Surveys. Conduct and publish reports, gather information about needs of state institutions, and make additional reports and recommendations as necessary to the governor and Legislature.

Exercise All Powers necessary or convenient to accomplish the purpose and objectives of Article XIII-A of the Constitution.

Issue Bonds. Issue obligations on behalf of the institutions within the State System, except for the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University, for the purpose of funding capital projects at those institutions.

In addition to the above general responsibilities, the Legislature has assigned administration or directives for the following to the State Regents. This list is not all-inclusive but highlights major responsibilities.

  • Accreditation of private colleges and universities (1965)
  • State guaranty agency ‚ÄstOklahoma College Assistance Program [formerly Oklahoma Guaranteed Student Loan Program] (1965)
  • Examination of Revenue Bond Statement of Essential Facts (1970)
  • Establishment and maintenance of state‚Äôs Televised Instruction System (1970)
  • Tuition Aid Grant Program¬† (1971)
  • Study of employee benefit program (1974)
  • Study of salary and other remunerative benefits, workloads (1974)
  • Ardmore Higher Education Center [Murray State College Ardmore ] (1975)
  • State Plan for Civil Rights (1979)
  • Uniform course number system (1979)
  • Procedures and reporting on Faculty English Proficiency (1982)
  • Development and administration of Professional Training Institutes, EESA (1985)
  • Administration of the regional education program for the Southern Regional Education Board (1985)
  • Management and control of the William P. Willis Trust and Scholarship Funds (1986)
  • Management of the Endowment Fund Program (1988)
  • Management of the¬†Academic Scholars Program¬† (1988)
  • Summer Academies in Math and Science ¬†(1989)
  • Regents Education Program (1990)
  • OneNet¬† (1992)
  • Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program [Oklahoma‚Äôs Promise] (1992)
  • Long-Range Capital Planning (1995)
  • Master Lease Program (1999)
  • Oklahoma Tuition Equalization Grant Program¬† (2003)
  • Approval and coordination of student fees and tuition at State System institutions, within legislative limits (2003)

The following are some of the major programs currently administered by the State Regents.

Student Financial Assistance Programs

Academic Scholars Program
The Academic Scholars Program was created and funded by the Oklahoma Legislature and is administered by the State Regents as a scholarship incentive for students of high academic ability to attend both public and private higher education institutions in Oklahoma.

Brad Henry International Scholars Program
The Brad Henry International Scholars Program, established by the State Regents in June 2008, provides a $10,000 stipend for students at Oklahoma public regional universities to participate in semester-long study or research programs affiliated with Swansea University in Wales. Academic credit for these programs will be awarded by the students’ universities.

Chancellor Hans Brisch Scholarship Program
The Chancellor Hans Brisch Scholarship Program serves entering freshmen in college who have high academic achievement in high school, outstanding leadership characteristics and a commitment to the enhancement of the community. While the controlling criteria for this award shall be as stated above, the program will include students with a diversity of geographic, ethnic and economic background and who plan to pursue a variety of programs of study in institutions across the state.

Heroes Promise
The scholarship is available to Oklahoma residents who are the children of any person killed after Jan. 1, 2000, in the line of duty in any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces or who died after Jan.1, 2000, as a result of an injury sustained while in the line of duty in any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces. An eligible student qualifies for an award equivalent to resident public college tuition paid through the Oklahoma’s Promise program (see below).

Oklahoma College Assistance Program
OCAP, an operating division of the State Regents and formerly known as the Oklahoma Guaranteed Student Loan Program (OGSLP), was founded by the state Legislature in 1965. OCAP provides innovative college access, aid awareness, financial literacy and student loan management programs and services for students, parents, schools and community partners. As OGSLP, the agency served as Oklahoma's designated guarantor for the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) for more than 50 years, and OCAP remains a guarantor for FFELP loans issued prior to July 1, 2010.

Oklahoma’s Promise (Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program)
The Oklahoma’s Promise scholarship program, created by the Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Act in 1992, allows eighth-, ninth-, 10th- and 11th-grade students who enroll in the program to receive scholarships that will pay their Oklahoma public college tuition if they meet income and other requirements. To qualify, students must take certain required courses and make good grades overall. Students must also stay out of trouble outside the classroom to remain eligible. Oklahoma's Promise is recognized by many as America's best college access program and is considered a model that combines emphases on academic preparation and financial support for college.

Oklahoma Tuition Aid Grant Program
OTAG was established in 1971 to assist Oklahoma college students with demonstrated financial need to meet the cost of attendance at postsecondary institutions in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Tuition Equalization Grant Program
The OTEG program was established by the Oklahoma Legislature in 2003 to assist Oklahoma college students in meeting the cost of attendance at non-public postsecondary institutions in Oklahoma. To qualify, a student must be an Oklahoma resident; be a full-time undergraduate; attend a qualified Oklahoma not-for-profit, private or independent institution of higher education located in Oklahoma; have a family income of $50,000 or less; and meet their institution's policy on satisfactory academic progress for financial aid recipients. Recipients can receive awards for up to five years, not to exceed the requirements for completion of a baccalaureate program.

Regional University Baccalaureate Scholarships
Established by the State Regents in 1995, this program enables public regional universities to provide scholarships to academically promising undergraduate students. Each regional university may nominate up to 15 freshman awardees per year.

Tulsa Reconciliation and Education Scholarship Program
The 2002 Oklahoma Legislature established the Tulsa Reconciliation Scholarship Program in an effort to preserve awareness of the history and meaning of the civil unrest that occurred during the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot. Each year, two seniors from each of Tulsa’s 10 public high schools will receive $1,000, one-time scholarships.

William P. Willis Scholarship Program
The 1986 Oklahoma Legislature authorized the State Regents to establish and maintain a scholarship program for the purpose of providing scholarships to low-income, full-time undergraduates attending institutions in the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education.

Teacher Development Programs

Inspired to Teach
The 2022 Oklahoma Legislature authorized the State Regents to establish and maintain a scholarship and employment incentive program to encourage the recruitment, placement and retention of comprehensively prepared teachers in Oklahoma public schools. Prospective teachers with a declared teacher educator program of study shall be considered if they have graduated high school (including homeschool) or earned their GED. To the extent that funds are available, scholarships of $1,000 per year for the first three years and $2,500 for the final academic year shall be awarded. Participants who successfully complete their educator preparation degree, earn a standard teaching certificate in Oklahoma, and teach in a public Oklahoma school district (PK-12) for up to five consecutive years, shall receive $4,000 per year in incentive payments to the extent that funds are available.

Oklahoma Teacher Connection
OTC was created for the purpose of recruiting, retaining and placing teachers in the public schools of the state of Oklahoma. OTC pre-collegiate programs include the ACE, LEAP and FEA programs for middle and high schools, and collegiate partnership grants are awarded to institutions of higher education for recruitment and retention activities.

Oklahoma Teacher Enhancement Program
OTEP links K-12 student learning to teacher preparation through various statewide professional development conferences.

Oklahoma Teacher Shortage Employment Incentive Program
TSEIP is a program that reimburses eligible student loan expenses or pays an equivalent cash benefit to individuals who graduate from an Oklahoma-accredited teacher education program in mathematics or science, receive teaching certification and complete a commitment to teach math or science in an Oklahoma public secondary school for at least five consecutive years.

Scholars for Excellence in Child Care Program
The only program of its kind in the country, the goal of this collaboration with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services is to increase the quality of child care by enhancing the knowledge and professionalism of its workers. Eligible child care professionals are offered a scholarship and provided an opportunity to attend a community college while earning credentials, certificates and degrees in child development.

Student Programs

Concurrent Enrollment
Since its inception in 2005, the Concurrent Enrollment program has allowed outstanding juniors and seniors the opportunity to earn college credit while still in high school. Seniors may also be eligible for a tuition waiver of up to six credit hours per semester for their concurrent courses.

Cooperative Alliances
Technology centers across the state have partnered with higher education institutions in cooperative agreement programs. High school students and adults may earn college credit through assessments, contractual arrangements, and technical transfer toward Technical Certificates, Associate in Applied Science, and Bachelor of Technology degrees offered by a state system college or university. An inventory of current assessments accepted for college credit is available at .

Course Equivalency Project (CEP)
The CEP was implemented in 1996 and allows college students to view the transferability of more than 8,000 college courses in Oklahoma at Currently, all public institutions of higher education, as well as several private colleges and universities, participate in the CEP. The course equivalency matrix reinforces student access to the multi-tiered higher education system and helps shorten the time it takes students to obtain a degree. The CEP received the Governor’s Commendation Award in 1999 for demonstrating innovation and efficiency.

Administered by the State Regents, this federally funded program is designed to prepare middle and high school students for college success through direct student support services, including college campus tours, ACT preparation and testing, college exploration courses and one-on-one guidance from school specialists. GEAR UP offers college access and financial aid information and assistance to students and families, and provides school faculty and staff collaboration and leadership opportunities.

Oklahoma Money Matters
OKMM, the financial literacy initiative of the State Regents and the Oklahoma College Assistance Program, supports personal finance education through targeted outreach and strategic partnerships to help youth and adults successfully manage personal finances, understand consumer credit and navigate the financial aid process. OKMM works collaboratively with educators, campuses and community organizations to develop customized financial education programs and services, including training workshops, publications, and web, text, and multimedia tools. OKMM’s website, , features self-paced curricular modules, an interactive budgeting tool, podcasts and a web-based resource clearinghouse.

Oklahoma Student Preparation
The Student Preparation Office of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education helps PK-12 educators and parents effectively prepare students for college readiness. Through online resources, regional workshops, on-site training and conferences, the student preparation team provides educators, parents and students with the resources necessary to ensure all Oklahoma students and their families are college ready.

Reach Higher ‚Äď Oklahoma‚Äôs Degree Completion Program
Through Reach Higher’s FlexFinish and DirectComplete programs, 21 institutions offer specialized advising and support systems to help adult students return to college and complete degrees that lead to employment in Oklahoma’s critical occupations. Reach Higher is now able to offer financial support through the Reach Higher Finish Line Scholarship  to eligible adult students in Oklahoma. More than 10,000 degrees have been awarded through Reach Higher since 2007.

Summer Academies in Math and Science
Summer Academies are designed to enhance eighth- through 12th-grade students' knowledge of math and science by introducing them to new and exciting fields and concepts through hands-on learning experiences. Academies last from one to two weeks on college and university campuses across the state. Depending on the academy format, students either stay on campus or commute from home.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Programs
Designed for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients, these programs offer vocational training, life skills, résumé preparation and more. Offered at most Oklahoma community colleges and both Oklahoma State University technical branches, the programs provide employment and training skills to TANF recipients so they may ultimately become members of the workforce and attain self-sufficiency. provides a "one-stop shop" for students, parents, adult learners and educators. Students can create a portfolio; build a resume; complete career assessments; access test prep for the ACT, SAT, GRE and other exams; apply for the Oklahoma’s Promise scholarship; practice a college application; and search for scholarships. In addition, students can search by keywords and find information about admission requirements and financial aid, explore programs and majors, and receive personalized results to compare colleges.

Learning Center

University Center at Ponca City
The State Regents established the University Learning Center of Northern Oklahoma in March 1999 with a mission to serve the needs of adults seeking higher education opportunities in northern Oklahoma. In 2006, the name was changed to the University Center at Ponca City. UCPC provides opportunities for higher education and degrees through partnerships with Northern Oklahoma College and Northwestern Oklahoma State University.

System Initiatives

Complete College America
Oklahoma is a national leader in an ongoing effort to dramatically increase the number of residents with a college degree or credential, to set degree goals and to develop and implement aggressive action plans to meet those goals. Established in 2009, Complete College America provides Oklahoma with tangible and practical support to help implement a range of strategies that will bring needed changes in the culture and practices of its public postsecondary institutions. Oklahoma receives in-depth technical support from America’s leading experts on improving college success, including assistance in building consensus for reform and developing policy action plans; guidance on applying for and effectively using federal funding to produce more degrees; and annual networking opportunities. Five national foundations are providing multi-year support to Complete College America, including the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Lumina Foundation for Education. In April 2012, the State Regents adopted a performance-based funding formula that expanded on the Brain Gain plan first adopted in 1999. The performance-based funding formula applies to additional funding for higher education appropriated by the state Legislature. The performance factors are: a campus degree completion plan that adheres to CCA goals, retention rates, Pell Grant retention rates, 24-credit-hour completion rate, graduation rate, CCA degree target achievement, number of certificates/degrees conferred and program accreditation.

Endowment Fund Program
The Endowment Fund Program was started in 1988 to attract and retain faculty by establishing professorships, chairs and related activities to improve the quality of instruction and research at state colleges and universities.

EPSCoR Matching Fund Program
The Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) is a federal initiative targeting states that have historically received a low amount of federal research funds. The State Regents is the fiscal agent for providing matching funds for initiatives to develop advanced research capabilities.

Master Lease Purchase Program
The State System Master Lease Purchase Program offers a method of financing the acquisition of major personal and real property that will provide cost efficiencies in finance and administration. Authorized institutions must enter into lease agreements for values of $50,000 to $10 million for personal property projects. The lease terms will vary by the useful life of the equipment purchased, but the useful life must not exceed 20 years for personal property and 30 years on real property projects.

Oklahoma 529
Oklahoma 529 (formerly the Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan) provides families with a smart, flexible way to save for their children’s future. The plan offers a choice of investment options, tax advantages and the flexibility of using the savings at any qualified higher education institution both in the United States and abroad.

OneNet is the comprehensive digital communications initiative of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and Oklahoma’s research and education network. OneNet leverages local, national, public and private partnerships to provide world-class broadband connectivity to institutions that sustain communities and enrich lives. OneNet’s high-performance optical network meets our state’s education, research, health care, and state and local government needs. OneNet serves higher education institutions, career technology centers, K-12 schools, libraries, research organizations, health care providers, and federal, state, local and tribal government agencies. OneNet does not serve private businesses or private residences. OneNet partners with other research and education networks across the country to connect Oklahoma to research programs throughout the nation and around the globe. Meeting the diverse set of research and education needs of Oklahoma, OneNet has developed a statewide fiber backbone with a 100Gbps infrastructure serving Oklahoma’s largest research institutions. OneNet operates one of the two Great Plains Network 100Gbps on-ramps to Internet2, as well as directly connects to other statewide research networks through Internet2.

Online College of Oklahoma
In response to increased demand for anytime, anywhere learning, OCO was established as a pilot project in spring 2000. OCO builds on existing distance education resources to provide Oklahomans with convenient access to high-quality educational courses, programs and resources offered by state colleges and universities. The Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) currently serves as the linkage to OCO and provides administrative support to participating Oklahoma colleges and universities.

Regents Education Program
The purpose of the REP is to educate Oklahoma regents and trustees about the nature of their responsibilities and the seriousness with which they should be undertaken. More specifically, the program is to provide information and understandings that will allow regents and trustees to perform their public responsibilities and to govern successfully in the face of greater calls for wider programs and services, mandates for greater accountability, changing clientele and demands, and resource scarcity.

*Last updated August 2023.