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2020 Legislative Agenda

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FY 2021 Budget Need

FY 2020 Appropriation: $802,070,058

FY 2021 Budget Need:

  1. STEM Workforce Development Initiatives: $50,200,000
    1. STEM and engineering workforce needs: $30,000,000
    2. Nursing workforce needs: $12,000,000
    3. Double the number of physician residency slots (per year for 10-year period): $8,200,000

  2. Operational Cost Increases: $50,000,000
    1. 3.5% faculty pay increases – Phase II: $20,200,000
    2. Systemwide mandatory cost increases: $25,500,000
    3. Restoration of scholarship programs (National Guard Waiver and Teacher Shortage Employment Incentive Program: $2,200,000
    4. Strategic innovations: $2,100,000

  3. Deferred Maintenance for Campus Infrastructure (Section 13 Offset) – Phase II: $5,800,000

  4. Concurrent Enrollment Program (full funding for high school juniors): $7,000,000

  5. Endowed Chair State Matching Funds Bond Authorization and Debt Service: $12,000,000

FY 2021 Total Budget Need: $927,070,058

Faculty Salaries

The most recent national rankings from the Southern Regional Education Board list Oklahoma as 45th in the average faculty salary and show that average salaries in Oklahoma’s colleges and universities are more than 15% below other states. Additional funding for faculty salary increases is critical to our public institutions’ efforts to competitively retain and recruit quality faculty in nursing, business, education, sciences, engineering and other high-demand programs that are essential to meet Oklahoma’s workforce needs.

STEM and Workforce

Degree and certificate production in critical STEM disciplines has increased 53% over the last eight years. Workforce development initiatives focus on continued growth in the number of science, technology, engineering and nursing degrees conferred, as well as doubling the number of physician residency slots available in our state over the next 10 years.

Restore Historic Budget Cuts

State support for Oklahoma’s higher education system was cut more than $274 million (26%) from the start of the recession through FY18.

Oklahoma is one of only six states where per-student higher education funding fell by more than 30% from 2008 to 2018, after adjusting for inflation. We must continue restoring state funding for public higher education to meet Oklahoma’s current and future workforce needs

Endowed Chairs

The endowed chairs program, which supports faculty chairs, professorships and lectureships to improve the quality of instruction and research, has enabled colleges and universities to attract approximately $671 million in private gifts and develop meaningful public/private partnerships. Research clusters and disciplines include cancer, diabetes, mental health, neonatology, fire protection science, engineering, business, computer science, geophysics, chemistry and meteorology. Currently, accounts in the backlog for state matching funds total $160.9 million for 18 institutions statewide.

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 2016-21

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: $13,500,000; total funding requirement: $13,500,000.

FY 2021 – Current appropriation: $13,500,000; total funding requirement: $20,500,000 (additional $7 million investment requested).

The FY 2019 higher education appropriation of $7.5 million for concurrent enrollment covered approximately 87 percent of the cost to state system colleges and universities, and FY 2020 funding provided the opportunity to fully fund concurrent enrollment for high school seniors. To fully fund concurrent enrollment for high school juniors would require an additional $7 million investment.

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: 2019 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 17,000 students and is one of the top five promise scholarship programs in the nation. Nearly 90,000 Oklahoma students have met the eligibility requirements and earned the scholarship since the program’s inception.

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 12 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.

Workforce and Economic Impact of Public Higher Education

According to the Georgetown Center for Education and the Workforce, by 2020, 67% of jobs in Oklahoma will require a college degree or additional postsecondary education and training, and 37% 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.

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.

Nationally Recognized Affordability

U.S. News and World Report ranks Oklahoma tuition and fees as 12th-lowest in the nation and student debt at graduation as 13th-lowest in the nation.

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. In the first six years of the CCA initiative, the number of degrees and certificates earned in Oklahoma increased by 11,740, surpassing the state’s benchmark of 10,200.

Other states are investing in degree completion. 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.


Dr. Glen D. Johnson, Chancellor

LeeAnna McNally, Vice Chancellor for Governmental Relations

Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education