During the economic downturn, our state leaders have recognized the personal and public benefits of higher education by making higher education funding a top priority. This has never been more important. In each of the last three semesters, historic numbers of students have enrolled at our 25 public colleges and universities. Since 2008, fall enrollment has increased by 16,077 students. In addition, we are producing a record number of college degrees earned — a 27.4 percent increase over the last decade. All of this is occurring at a time when our institutions have identified $112.3 million in cost savings through energy efficiencies, early retirement options, travel freezes and reductions in supplies and equipment.
This year, we expect to see another record number of graduates receive their college diplomas. We are confident that Gov. Mary Fallin, our Legislature and our colleges and universities will continue to work together to ensure that higher education will have the resources needed to provide our students with a quality education at a very affordable cost. There is not an entity in state government that can help our state meet its stated goals of educational excellence and job development quicker, better or more comprehensively than higher education.