“We were honored to be the host for the 2013 Southeast Region Legislative Luncheon, it was the largest turnout in the history of this event,” said President of Connors State College Dr. Tim Faltyn. Over 90 people attended the event, including presidents, administrators and students from eight colleges and universities around the southeast region, legislators, Chancellor Glen D. Johnson, and special guest, Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon.
With the demand for employees who have certificates and degrees increasing, college completion has never been a higher priority in the state of Oklahoma than it is now. That was the message delivered by Chancellor Glen D. Johnson as he presented the Oklahoma S
tate Regents for Higher Education’s FY 2014 legislative agenda on January 15, 2013 in Krebs, Oklahoma hosted by Connors State College. Speaker Shannon praised Chancellor Johnson on being a great advocate for education and ensuring the crowd members that he does an exceptional job bringing important issues to the lawmaker’s attention. “I think the Chancellor did an excellent job of presenting a compelling picture of the importance of higher education to Oklahoma’s current and future success,” added Faltyn.
The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education recently voted to request $90.4 million in new state appropriations during the upcoming legislative session. The total budget request for FY 2014 is 9.47 percent higher than the current year’s appropriation.
To aid state colleges and universities in producing more college graduates, the State Regents are requesting $55 million for Complete College America performance funding needs. This will provide funding for additional course sections, full-time faculty and financial aid. This will also fund increased needs for information technology equipment, library resources and other operational needs to support near-record student enrollment.
Oklahoma’s public colleges and universities continue to take steps to cut operational costs. A total of $411 million in actual and projected cost savings has been identified from 2010-14 in technology and energy consumption, as well as in personnel costs and supplies.
“Oklahoma’s system of higher education remains committed to producing a quality, educated workforce in order to prepare our students to compete globally,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “We believe that our budget request makes a very persuasive case for our policy leaders to further invest in higher education. These funds would assist our institutions in achieving our Complete College America degree completion goals and will help to ensure student access and success in college.”
College completion continues to be higher education’s No. 1 priority. The State Regents are seeking $2.5 million for online education and degree completion technology. This will increase students’ ability to enroll in additional course sections and improve evaluation and transparency through software development and training.
The State Regents are also requesting $7.5 million to fund a grant program that will enhance higher education institutions’ efforts to provide students guidance in completion of their degrees. Funding would be directed to special services in career counseling, advisement, financial aid and efficiency in degree attainment.
Increased financial aid funding will also be a priority for the State Regents in the upcoming legislative session in order to reduce the financial barriers that prevent students from attending college. The State Regents seek to increase funding by $2.5 mi
llion for the concurrent enrollment program, which allows high school juniors and seniors to take credit-earning college courses.
The State Regents are also requesting an additional $540,000 for the Summer Academies program, $1.3 million for the Oklahoma Tuition Aid and Oklahoma Tuition Equalization grants, $200,000 for the Academic Scholars program and $250,000 for an adult degree completion community scholarship match.
The total appropriation request for FY 2014 is $1.05 billion.
Connors State College has started to add programs that will prove to be beneficial to the students and the community. CSC has teamed up with ICTC to provide new allied health programs, such as Radiology Technician. All of these new programs are being introduced in conjunction with the new Muskogee Difference Healthcare Scholarship. MDHS is a program that alleviates the burden of tuition costs by providing any student that lives within Muskogee County to study any one of our healthcare degrees for free. This new scholarship hopes to remove any barriers that may obstruct a student from attending and/or completing college.