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Oklahoma higher education needs more funding to meet completion goals, chancellor says

Oklahoma higher education Chancellor Glen Johnson laid out the higher education system's agenda for the upcoming legislative session in a forum Wednesday at the University of Central Oklahoma. At the center of that agenda is a budget request that includes a budget increase of $90.4 million.
by Silas Allen Published: December 20, 2012

Higher education officials announced in September the state had surpassed its goal during the 2011-2012 academic year. The state's public colleges and universities produced an additional 1,934 degrees and certificates last year compared to the year before, topping the goal of 1,700 degrees and certificates for all public and private colleges and universities as well as CareerTech centers.

But Johnson said the state likely wouldn't be able to continue on that pace with flat or declining budgets. The budget has been reduced by 8.4 percent over the past five years. Johnson said this year's budget request of $1.046 billion would still place the system behind the $1.05 billion funding level of 2008.

“We have commitment,” Johnson said. “It certainly will require more funding.”

UCO President Don Betz said the university supports the system's college completion goals. As a metropolitan university, UCO is in a strong position to contribute to that effort, he said.

“We share the regents' commitment to broadening the path to a college degree for our citizens through innovation and collaboration,” Betz said.