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2019 Legislative Agenda

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FY 2020 Budget Need

FY 2019 Appropriation: $776,707,166

FY 2020 Budget Need:

  1. Faculty Salary Increases (7.5 percent increase): $38,700,000

  2. Restoration of Base Operational Funding: $50,500,000
    1. Increase in number of faculty/instructor positions and restoration of course offerings: $20,400,000
    2. Fixed cost increases: $24,300,000
    3. Deferred maintenance for campus infrastructure (Section 13 offset): $5,800,000

  3. Financial Aid and Scholarship Programs: $12,300,000
    1. Concurrent enrollment program: $3,300,000
    2. Restoration of scholarship programs: $9,000,000

FY 2020 Total Budget Need: $878,207,166

Restore Historic Budget Cuts

State support for Oklahoma’s higher education system has been cut more than $274 million (26%) since the start of the recession.

An Illinois State University study ranks Oklahoma last of the 50 states in the percentage change in state support for higher education from FY 2012 to FY 2017. We must begin restoring state funding for public higher education to meet Oklahoma’s current and future workforce needs.

Reverse the Negative Impacts of Historic Budget Cuts

The state system proposes a plan to increase higher education appropriations for operations by approximately $50 million each year for six years to restore cuts exceeding $274 million (26%) since the start of the recession.

Concurrent Enrollment

The concurrent enrollment program strengthens student preparation, reduces family college costs, and decreases the time required to complete a degree.

Total Cost of Concurrent Enrollment Program, FY 2008-18

FY 2015 – Current appropriation: $4,502,281; total funding requirement: $6,198,927.

FY 2016 – Current appropriation: $5,409,345; total funding requirement: $7,107,446.

FY 2017 – Current appropriation: $5,198,248; total funding requirement: $8,272,114.

FY 2018 – Current appropriation: $2,820,800; total funding requirement: $10,583,014.

FY 2019 – Current appropriation: $10,216,349; total funding requirement: $11,760,637.

FY 2020 – Current appropriation: $10,216,349; total funding requirement: $13,500,000 (additional $3.3 million investment requested).

Following the FY 2019 higher education appropriation of $7.5 million for concurrent enrollment, funding for the program covers approximately 87 percent of the cost to state system colleges and universities. To fully fund concurrent enrollment would require an additional $3.3 million investment.

Faculty Salaries

The most recent national rankings from the Southern Regional Education Board list Oklahoma as 44th for four-year institutions and 46th for two-year institutions in average faculty salary. The average salary for all faculty in Oklahoma’s colleges and universities is more than 10 percent below their peers in other states. Additional funding for faculty salary increases is critical to our public institutions’ efforts to competitively retain and recruit quality faculty. Low salary levels are straining faculty retention and recruiting in nursing, business, education, sciences, engineering and other high demand programs that are essential to meet Oklahoma’s workforce needs.

Task Force on the Future of Higher Education

The State Regents’ Task Force on the Future of Higher Education conducted a comprehensive assessment of Oklahoma public higher education, including academic models, online education, structural reforms, fiscal services, operational efficiencies, workforce development, and information technology. After 10 months of study and deliberations, the Task Force unanimously issued a set of comprehensive cost saving, innovative strategies to increase degree completion in our state.

Students Who Learn Here Earn Here

A student with a college degree will earn $1.1 million more in a lifetime than a high school graduate. More than 87 percent of Oklahoma residents who graduate with a bachelor’s degree remain in the state and are employed in the state one year after graduation.

Source: 2018 Employment Outcomes Report.

Oklahoma's Promise

The state system of higher education strongly supports protecting the dedicated funding source for the Oklahoma’s Promise scholarship, which provides college funding for approximately 18,000 students. Over 80,000 Oklahoma students have met the eligibility requirements and earned the scholarship since the program’s inception.

Workforce and Economic Impact of Public Higher Education

According to the Georgetown Center for Education and the Workforce, by 2020, 67 percent of jobs in Oklahoma will require a college degree or additional postsecondary education and training, and 37 percent will require an associate degree, bachelor’s degree or higher. Oklahoma higher education links academic programs directly to employment needs in the state’s wealth-generating ecosystems, and degree and certificate production in critical STEM disciplines has increased 47 percent over the last seven years.

Our public higher education system supported $8.2 billion in total economic output in FY 2016. For every dollar of state appropriations invested, the state system of higher education generates $9.40 in economic output.

Complete College America

Oklahoma’s public and private institutions and career technology centers continue working to reach the state’s goal of increasing the number of degrees and certificates earned through our Complete College America initiative. Despite successive years of budget cuts to public higher education, in the first five years of the CCA initiative, the number of degrees and certificates earned in Oklahoma increased by 8,912, surpassing the state’s benchmark of 8,500.

Additional degrees and certificates earned:

Five-year goal: 8,500.
Five-year results: 8,912.

Other states are investing in degree completion, while state support of Oklahoma public higher education has been cut 26 percent since the start of the recession in 2008. Data from the State Higher Education Executive Officers association show that Oklahoma ranks last among the 33 participating CCA states in the percentage change in state funding support since the initiative’s inception in 2011.

Maintain Current Law on Weapons on Campus

Oklahoma higher education supports the Second Amendment and gun ownership. Under current law, campus presidents have the discretion to grant exceptions to institutional policy when an exception is warranted. The current law is working.

In the past 11 legislative sessions, bills have been introduced or discussed that would allow weapons on campus. Each attempt has been successfully defeated to date, and ensuring similar legislation does not become law will continue to be a state system priority.

Nationally Recognized Affordability

U.S. News and World Report ranks Oklahoma tuition and fees as 7th-lowest in the nation and student debt at graduation as 10th-lowest in the nation.


Dr. Glen D. Johnson, Chancellor

LeeAnna McNally, Vice Chancellor for Governmental Relations

Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education