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december 1, 2016 - State Regents Approve Budget Request, Legislative Agenda

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The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education voted Thursday to request $957.9 million for FY 2018, which reflects an 18.3 percent increase over the FY 2017 appropriation of $810 million.  

Strengthening Oklahoma’s workforce pipeline through the Complete College America degree and certificate completion plan continues to be the state system of higher education’s top priority. The State Regents are requesting $122.7 million for degree completion programs and initiatives. This investment will provide state colleges and universities funding to meet instruction and academic enterprise requirements and for institutional scholarships.

“Despite historic budget cuts in FY 2017, our state system of higher education remains committed to increasing college degree and certificate attainment, which strengthens Oklahoma’s economy,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “These additional funds would empower our colleges and universities to continue meeting our Complete College America goals as we work to produce the graduates required to meet our state’s workforce needs.”

Increased funding for financial aid programs will also be a priority for the State Regents in the upcoming legislative session. The State Regents are seeking $12.7 million to restore scholarship programs and fully fund the concurrent enrollment program, which provides tuition waivers to high school seniors who enroll in college coursework during their senior year.

The State Regents are seeking $1.1 million to restore shared service programs and $9.6 million for debt service obligations related to the 2005 higher education capital bond issue.

Another area of focus in the coming legislative session will be maintaining current law regarding weapons on higher education campuses. Oklahoma higher education does not oppose the Second Amendment or gun ownership. Under current law, campus presidents have the discretion to grant exceptions to the weapons ban when an exception is warranted. The State Regents and the presidents of all 25 state system institutions strongly believe that there is no scenario where expanding authorization to carry weapons on higher education campuses does anything other than create a more dangerous environment for our students, faculty, staff and visitors.

The State Regents will also continue efforts to preserve the Oklahoma’s Promise scholarship as an access program. Recognized by many as America’s best college access program, Oklahoma’s Promise is considered a model that combines emphases on academic preparation and financial support for college. More than 70,000 students have earned college tuition scholarships through Oklahoma’s Promise since the program’s inception in 1992.