The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education voted Thursday to request $76.3 million in new state appropriations during the upcoming legislative session. The total budget request for FY 2015 is 7.7 percent higher than the current year’s appropriation.
College completion continues to be higher education’s top priority. The State Regents are requesting $55.1 million for Complete College America performance-funding needs. This investment will provide state colleges and universities funding for additional course sections, full-time faculty and financial aid. These dollars will also fund information technology equipment, library resources and other operational needs that will provide continued support for student success.
“Oklahoma’s system of higher education is the state’s road to jobs and prosperity,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “No entity in state government can help Oklahoma reach its goals of educational excellence and workforce development faster or more comprehensively than public higher education. These funds would support our institutions’ ongoing commitment to produce more quality graduates, which strengthens our state economy.”
The State Regents are seeking $2.5 million for online education and degree completion technology. This will enable students to enroll in additional course sections and will provide for improved software development and training.
The State Regents are also requesting $10 million to fund a competitive grant program that will enhance higher education institutions’ efforts to expand specialized student services, including focused advisement, career counseling and job placement, veterans’ programs, and financial education.
Increased financial aid funding will also be a priority for the State Regents in the upcoming legislative session. The State Regents seek to increase funding for the concurrent enrollment program, which allows high school juniors and seniors to take credit-earning college courses, by $3 million, and are requesting $1.5 million for the Oklahoma Tuition Aid and Oklahoma Tuition Equalization grants and $250,000 for an adult degree completion community scholarship match.
The State Regents are also requesting an additional $250,000 for the Summer Academies program, which provides interactive learning opportunities for Oklahoma eighth- through 10th-grade students in high-demand science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.The total appropriation request for FY 2015 is $1.06 billion.