2015 Public Agenda
Higher Education: Oklahoma's Road to Jobs and Prosperity
PDF version (854k)
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 the ongoing strategic planning process, 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 from 30,500 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.
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 2014, 18,900 students received Oklahoma’s Promise scholarships totaling more than $61 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 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. The State Regents recently launched an exciting upgrade to OKcollegestart.org. Expanded features include 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 school students to access and succeed in Oklahoma higher education. Academic preparation programs, financial aid education, leadership/ STEM summer camps, professional learning opportunities for educators and parent events support the GEAR UP goals of increasing both high school graduation and enrollment in postsecondary education.
College Access Challenge Grant Program
The College Access Challenge Grant Program is a federal program focused on projects that will significantly increase the number of students from underrepresented groups who are enrolled, retained and complete degrees in higher education. Funds are used in a variety of ways, including scholarships, development of degree completion curriculum, promotion of the EPAS program and OKcollegestart.org to school counselors, and providing support for the Oklahoma College Access Network.
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 that includes three assessments, EXPLORE, PLAN and the ACT. EPAS serves 467 school districts and more than 90 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.
Twenty-nine technology centers across the state have partnered with 17 higher education institutions and branch campuses in cooperative alliance agreements. In the past year, Oklahoma students who took courses at technology centers earned more than 58,600 credit hours toward Associate in Applied Science 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 12,100 students enrolled in concurrent enrollment courses generating more than 106,000 credit hours.
OneNet operates Oklahoma’s most advanced technology network 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