In the state-by-state report card “Measuring Up 2000” released today by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, Oklahoma received mostly average scores in higher education performance. Findings detailed in the report appear to be consistent with previous accountability and indicator reports published this year by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.
The National Center report card provides objective comparisons of performance among states in the areas of preparation, participation, affordability, completion, benefits and learning. Its value is its ability to furnish state leaders with information about performance and policies of their state in relation to others throughout the nation. In addition, it can be used to focus discussions on public policy solutions to improve performance.
“The objective analysis of our state by a respected, external organization and the widespread attention given to its findings demonstrates the value of higher education to Oklahoma and the nation,” said Chancellor Hans Brisch. “This appraisal lends credibility and support to initiatives the State Regents have undertaken in the last few years to improve higher education performance in areas such as college participation, retention and completion.”
Brisch noted that the first comprehensive Oklahoma higher education accountability report released in May 2000 provides a similar overview as that of the national report card.
State Regents indicate that the findings underscore the importance of initiatives like Brain Gain 2010, an aggressive plan for Oklahoma to meet or exceed the national average for the proportion of its population with a college degree by 2010.
State Regents illustrated that Oklahoma has recently begun to identify the benefits of programs such as Brain Gain 2010.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates indicate the percent of population with a bachelor’s degree or higher in Oklahoma in 1999 was 23.7 percent, slightly ahead of Brain Gain 2010 projections.
Though much of the information presented in the national report card is consistent with the Oklahoma higher education accountability report, gains made by Oklahoma in the last few years may not be reflected. This is due in part to the timeframe in which the data were calculated. The "Measuring Up 2000" report indicated in its methodology that much of the data utilized is from 1998.
To address public policy issues raised by the report card, the State Regents will consider at their Dec. 1 meeting a contract with Knight Collaborative to facilitate a roundtable forum of stakeholders – legislators, campus administrators, regents, faculty, parents, students and business leaders.
Brisch’s involvement in the national higher education report card will extend beyond Oklahoma. He serves as chairman of the State Higher Education Executives Officers State Report Card Committee that will work with the states and national organizations to analyze and develop action plans in response to the National Center report card.
Regents emphasize that they will not be complacent with the performance of Oklahoma higher education. The outcomes of the national report will be used as a valuable tool to increase informed dialog among state leaders, policy makers and the citizens of Oklahoma.
“We as a state must take responsibility for our performance detailed in the report card,” said State Regents Chairman Leonard J. Eaton. “As we step up to the plate to move Oklahoma higher education forward, we’ll face additional challenges. Most notably, the disparity of per student funding by the state – 66 cents on the dollar compared to peers in other states.”
The State Regents FY2002 budget needs request for an additional $150 million specifically includes $84.7 million to support Brain Gain 2010 initiatives such as four-year graduation incentives, tuition subsidies, instructional support, institutional incentives, and the Online College of Oklahoma.
“While the legislature has shown a commitment to increasing access to higher education opportunities through increasing family income limits for the Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program, we still do not have a dedicated stream of revenue in place to consistently fund this and many other scholarship programs,” said Eaton. “We are looking forward to working with our legislature to secure the necessary resources to support the many programs and initiatives that will position Oklahoma as a national leader in higher education.”
The National Center is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that provides action-oriented analyses of state and federal policies affecting education beyond high school. The report card grades each state’s higher education performance in the areas of preparation, participation, affordability, completion, benefits and learning. The report card was designed to provide state leaders and policy makers with access to state-by-state information to compare higher education performance.
The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education State-by-State Report Card “Measuring Up 2000”Oklahoma Results
Below is an overview of progress made in the areas graded by the national report card. Initiatives undertaken in the last two years may not be reflected in the report due to the one- to two-year delay in the data available for many of these areas.
Millions of dollars have been targeted on K-12 preparation over the past several years, and results are just now being measured for the following programs.
The National Center gave a grade of incomplete to all states in student learning as there were no common benchmarks to allow meaningful state-by-state comparisons.
Oklahoma's statewide GEAR UP grant has been matched by more than $25 million from state and partner resources. With funds totaling $45.5 million, GEAR UP receives 45 percent of total funding from the federal government and 55 percent from other organizations.