New Plan Asks For $76 Million Extra For Oklahoma Education

Monday, January 13th 2014, 8:25 pm
By: Craig Day

The state's higher education chancellor unveiled a plan Monday that would ask lawmakers for more than $76 million more dollars for colleges and universities in Oklahoma.

It's a 7.7 percent increase over last fiscal year, and brings the overall budget for higher education to more than a billion dollars. State education leaders hope the increase will get more students in school, and improve Oklahoma's economy.

View the proposed plan here.

In one of many meetings with education leaders and lawmakers, Oklahoma higher education chancellor Glen Johnson announced plans at OU Tulsa for a request of over $76 million extra dollars for the coming fiscal year.

"Every dollar requested is tied to our major priority in higher education that's college degree completion," Johnson said.

Data shows that states with higher percentages of people with college degrees have higher per capita incomes and better economies.

The additional funding would be used for things like more courses and full time faculty, better information technology equipment and library resources, and to improve student services.

Johnson said, "Everything from student advisement, to a more concerted effort on our online education, which is becoming more and more of a part of the education environment that our students are in today."

Many state education leaders hope the additional investment will help Oklahoma improve the percentage of people in our state with a college degree. Right now we're the tenth lowest ranked state, at 23.8 percent.

Howard Barnett, President of OSU Tulsa said, "We have a lot of people in Oklahoma that have some college hours, but haven't finished, so the ability to get them back into school and complete their degree is very important from an economic development standpoint."

Right now, education funding makes up nearly 15 percent of the overall state budget.

The legislature would have to approve the funding increase in the upcoming legislative session as part of the overall state budget, which would go into effect July 1.

Every parent wants to know how any potential tuition increases factor into all this.

Chancellor Johnson said it is too early to know and it will depend on the amount of funding the legislature approves for higher education in the next budget.