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Oklahoma sees substantial benefits from higher education, State Chamber reports

Oklahoma's higher education system generates economic returns nearly five times the amount of funding it receives, according to the State Chamber of Oklahoma. According to the report, the state sees $4.72 in return for every dollar of state funding public higher education receives.
by Silas Allen Published: April 4, 2013

Chamber President Fred Morgan said higher education is an important component in the overall economic picture in Oklahoma. Industry leaders have expressed concern about finding qualified workers in Oklahoma, Morgan said.

“There are jobs out there, and many of those are skilled jobs that need college degrees,” he said. “We see the impact of a skilled and educated workforce, or the lack thereof, every day.”

The report echoes assertions higher education officials have made about the value of a college education to the individual student and the state as a whole.

Gov. Mary Fallin has made college completion a high priority, setting a statewide goal of an additional 20,400 degrees and certificates awarded over the next 12 years.

Citing a need for greater funding of the college completion initiative, Oklahoma higher education officials have requested a 10.2 percent increase in next year's higher education budget. That would bring the system's total appropriations to $1.05 billion for the 2013-2014 fiscal year.

Oklahoma higher education Chancellor Glen Johnson said the report makes a strong case for greater investment in higher education. The higher education system has the potential to drive the state's economy in ways most agencies can't, he said.