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Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Ed Focused on Degree, Certificate Completion Programs

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The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education have a legislative agenda for 2020 focused on helping meet a goal for educational attainment.

The state goal is increasing the number of degrees and certificates earned 67% by 2020.

“To reach our degree completion benchmarks, we must renew our efforts to increase faculty salaries, advance our commitment to STEM and workforce initiatives, restore base operational funding to support our academic mission and strategic innovations, and expand the concurrent enrollment program,” said Chancellor Glen Johnson.

The regents recently voted to request $927.1 million for fiscla year 2021, a 15.6% increase over the FY2020 appropriation of $802.1 million.

The regents are requesting $50.2 million for state system STEM workforce development initiatives, including funds to help meet engineering and nursing workforce needs and double the number of physician residency slots in the state. In addition, the regents are requesting $50 million for operational cost increases, including restoration of the National Guard Waiver and Teacher Shortage Employment Incentive Program scholarship programs and a 3.5% increase in faculty salaries to continue efforts to preserve quality academic instruction.

Requests to fund deferred maintenance for campus infrastructure, for full funding of the concurrent enrollment program for high school juniors, and to provide endowed chair state matching funds bond authorization and debt service are also priorities.

Another area of focus in the upcoming legislative session will be to maintain the current law regarding weapons on higher education campuses. Under current law, campus presidents have the discretion to permit the carrying of weapons when an exception is warranted.

The regents will also continue efforts to protect the dedicated funding source for the Oklahoma’s Promise scholarship. Oklahoma’s Promise combines emphases on academic preparation and financial support for college.

Nearly 90,000 students have earned college tuition scholarships through Oklahoma’s Promise since the program’s inception in 1992.