“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.