Johnson said he expects to see the trend continue as the initiative progresses. He pointed to Oklahoma State University's freshman class, which is the largest in state history, as a sign of progress.
Now that the system has positive numbers in hand, Johnson said, he hopes to begin to look for funding to advance the initiative.
Some states, including Georgia, have allocated funding to help colleges and universities improve their completion rates as a part of the initiative. Johnson said he'd like to see Oklahoma lawmakers consider doing something similar.
Although Wednesday's numbers were welcome news, Hutchison cautioned regents against expecting similar results in the years to come. Higher education officials expected the best results in the first year of the program because the agency has begun engaging potential students who had previously received little attention.
“Year one will be the easiest,” he said. “But we're on the right track.”