Oklahoma higher education chancellor tells lawmakers college completion is top priority

Glen Johnson, chancellor of the Oklahoma State System for Higher Education, on Tuesday told the House Appropriations and Budget Subcommittee on Education that boosting college completion will be a top priority in higher education for the decade to come.
BY SILAS ALLEN sallen@opubco.com Published: February 8, 2012
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One of the system's programs, called Reach Higher, seeks to address that issue by encouraging working adults to return to school.

Oklahoma's involvement in Complete College America began in September, when Gov. Mary Fallin called for a 67 percent increase in college degrees and certificates earned in Oklahoma by 2023. Fallin cited a number of groups who were falling through the cracks, including first-generation college students, transfer students, Hispanic and black students and students from low-income backgrounds.

Remediation slows progress

For the program to be successful, Johnson said, higher education officials will need to focus on a number of areas, including college readiness among high school students and remediation.

Rep. Cory Williams, D-Stillwater, said he was concerned about the level of remediation Oklahoma's college students require. Students pay to take those courses, but they don't count toward any degree program, meaning they may slow a student's path to a degree.

Johnson said he thought it was fruitless to try to blame any one agency or entity for the high level of remediation requirements. The problem could be addressed by boosting college readiness in high school, he said.