2009 Legislative Agenda
2009 Legislative Agenda for the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education
An analysis recently conducted by Regional Economic Models Inc. shows our state system of higher education will produce more than $3.2 billion in economic growth in 2008. The study also revealed that, for every $1 spent on higher education in Oklahoma, an additional $5.15 is pumped into the state’s economy and that new jobs created this year by campus capital projects will total about 23,750.
These are just a few of the benefits of higher education that are shared by all Oklahomans, regardless of whether they have a college degree. Clearly, funding higher education is not merely an expense; it is the best investment in the future that our state can make.
Our state system continues to make great strides toward our primary goal of increasing the number of graduates in our state.
The State Regents’ focus on higher education quality, affordability, access and student success is made possible by a financial partnership among our state’s taxpayers, institutions, and students and their families. Recently, however, state funding has fallen short of our institutions’ operational needs, and they have had to rely on increases in tuition and fees to keep instructional quality high. As a result, despite our efforts to keep the cost of education as low as possible, some of Oklahoma’s working families find it increasingly challenging to afford a college education.
As part of our total budget need, we are requesting $80.4 million in new funding to focus on operational fixed costs and campus quality initiatives.
This year’s request for new funding represents only about 42 percent of the total budget needs documented by our public colleges and universities in their annual requests and is the result of a thoughtful and well-reasoned process. It reflects a high level of budget discipline that is possible, in part, because our institutions stay well below the administrative cost caps established by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. Other operational efficiencies account for cost savings that exceed $46.2 million annually.