2016 Public Agenda
Higher Education: Strengthening Oklahoma's Workforce Pipeline
PDF version (547k)
The purpose of the public agenda is to provide a better understanding of the critical policy issues, goals and objectives that shape the direction of the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education. It is based on the needs of the state as identified through ongoing strategic planning, and it describes the major initiatives that are in place to achieve the policy objectives.
Key Policy Goals and Objectives
- Increase the number of college graduates.
- Enhance access and improve the quality of public higher education for all Oklahomans.
- Better prepare students to meet the challenges of a global economy.
- Implement Complete College America initiatives to increase the number of degrees and certificates earned in Oklahoma to 50,900 by 2023.
- Enhance capacity to successfully enroll, retain and graduate students.
- Increase systemwide efficiencies and cost savings.
- Strengthen financial support for Oklahoma college students.
- Improve instructional quality.
- Utilize performance funding to enhance student success and academic quality.
- Broaden economic development activities.
- Advance access to and quality of technologies to support systemwide programs and services.
Complete College America
The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education have identified degree completion as their top priority. Oklahoma has been named the national model for Complete College America (CCA), with a plan focused on promoting college readiness, transforming remediation, strengthening pathways to certificates and degrees, expanding adult degree completion efforts, and rewarding performance and completion. Oklahoma’s CCA goal is to increase the number of degrees and certificates earned each year in our state by 67 percent by 2023.
Mathematics Success Initiative
Key elements of Oklahoma’s CCA agenda include increasing freshman-to-sophomore retention and graduation rates and enhancing the efficacy and efficiency of remediation and freshman gateway courses. Math course pass rates are a significant barrier to retention and graduation rates. The Mathematics Success Group has developed a strategic plan to improve mathematics preparation of students entering college, reform mathematics remediation to be more effective, and strengthen mathematics preparation for all majors. Oklahoma’s Mathematics Success Initiative involves all public institutions and has received recognition and support from national organizations.
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. In FY 2015, 18,900 students received Oklahoma’s Promise scholarships totaling more than $63 million.
Nine of Oklahoma’s public regional universities and 14 public community colleges and technical branches offer flexible class options and enrollment periods through Reach Higher, the state system adult degree completion program, to meet the needs of working adults. Depending on their career goals and the number of hours they have already earned, students can choose an associate degree in enterprise development or a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership, and many campuses are considering adding other degree options. With a Reach Higher degree, students receive the leadership training, communications skills and business knowledge they need to get ahead.
The state’s student information portal provides college planning and preparation information and tools for students, parents and high school counselors. Through the site, students can create individual portfolios, access campus information, and apply for Oklahoma’s Promise, among other features. OKcollegestart.org offers a free, robust career planning assessment, an updated user-friendly interface and the ability to link career information to the high school and college planning features.
Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) is a federally funded program that helps prepare middle and high schools students for college success. Academic preparation programs, financial aid education, leadership/STEM summer camps, campus tours, ACT preparation and testing, professional learning opportunities for educators and parent events support the GEAR UP goals of increasing both high school graduation and enrollment in postsecondary education.
The Oklahoma Educational Planning and Assessment System (EPAS) provides assessments of college readiness and helps teachers, students and families identify the need for academic readiness. School districts volunteer to participate in the program’s three assessments, EXPLORE, PLAN and the ACT. EPAS serves more than 450 public schools and more than 80 nonpublic schools that serve 89,000 eighth- and 10th-graders. Improvements in many major areas have been documented, including ACT scores, college-going rates and remediation.
Technology centers across the state have partnered with higher education institutions and branch campuses in Cooperative Agreement programs. Students may earn college credit through assessments and contractual arrangements toward Associate in Applied Science degrees offered by a state system college or university. In the past year, Oklahoma students who took courses at technology centers earned more than 54,000 credit hours toward AAS degrees offered by a state system college or university.
Since its inception in 2005, the Concurrent Enrollment Tuition Waiver program has allowed outstanding juniors and seniors the opportunity to earn tuition-free college credit while still in high school. Most recently, more than 12,500 students enrolled in concurrent enrollment courses generating more than 107,000 credit hours.
OneNet operates Oklahoma’s most advanced technology network, which is designed to provide the infrastructure to support high-speed broadband services at an equitable rate. OneNet provides the technology and connectivity necessary to meet the mission-critical needs of Oklahoma’s colleges and universities; K-12 and career technology schools; public libraries; local, tribal, state and federal governments; rural health care providers; nonprofit organizations; and programs engaged in research. OneNet is Oklahoma’s only statewide Internet service provider and offers exclusive access to Internet2’s 100Gbps high-speed backbone network for the state’s research community. All OneNet initiatives are designed to level the playing field for innovation across the state and keep Oklahoma at the global forefront of technology.
Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education
P.O. Box 108850
Oklahoma City, OK 73101-8850
Dr. Glen D. Johnson, Chancellor