Oklahoma State System of Higher Education

Oklahoma State System of Higher Education
Oklahoma State System of Higher Education
Established March 11, 1941
Type Public University System
Chancellor Dr. Glen D. Johnson, Jr.
Location Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA
Website www.okhighered.org/

The Oklahoma State System of Higher Education is the state’s legal structure for providing public education at the collegiate level. It is a coordinated system of colleges and universities located throughout the state.


State System Overview

With a current enrollment of more than 247,000 students, the State System consists of 25 colleges and universities – including two research universities, 11 regional universities and 12 community colleges – and 11 constituent agencies and one higher education center. The State System is coordinated by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, and each institution is governed by a board of regents.

Research Universities

Oklahoma State University

University of Oklahoma

Regional Universities

Cameron University

East Central University

Langston University

Northeastern State University

Northwestern Oklahoma State University

Oklahoma Panhandle State University

Rogers State University

Southeastern Oklahoma State University

Southwestern Oklahoma State University

University of Central Oklahoma

University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

Community Colleges

Carl Albert State College

Connors State College

Eastern Oklahoma State College

Murray State College

Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College

Northern Oklahoma College

Oklahoma City Community College

Redlands Community College

Rose State College

Seminole State College

Tulsa Community College

Western Oklahoma State College

Constituent Agencies

OSU Agricultural Experiment Station

OSU Center for Health Sciences

OSU College of Veterinary Medicine

OSU Cooperative Extension Service

OSU Institute of Technology, Okmulgee

OSU-Oklahoma City


OU Geological Survey

OU Health Sciences Center

OU Law Center


Higher Education Programs/Sites

Ardmore Higher Education Center

Greater Oklahoma City Downtown Consortium

Langston University, Oklahoma City

Northern Oklahoma College, Stillwater

University Center at Ponca City

Higher Education Defined

Higher education, as the term is used in Section I of Article XIII-A, Constitution of Oklahoma, and House Bill No. 810, Chapter 396, Section 102, Session Laws 1965, is defined "...to include all education of any kind beyond or in addition to the twelfth grade or its equivalent as that grade is now generally understood and accepted in the public schools of the State of Oklahoma; provided, however, that this shall not exclude as a constituent institution any institution of higher learning which now offers as a part of its curriculum courses of high school study."

Institutions of Higher Education – Appropriations – Allocations

"The appropriations made by the Legislature for all such institutions shall be made in consolidated form without reference to any particular institution and the Board of Regents herein created shall allocate to each institution according to its needs and functions." (Oklahoma Constitution, Article XIII A, Section 3)

Coordination of Private, Denominational and Other Institutions of Higher Learning

"Private, denominational, and other institutions of higher learning may become coordinated with the State System of Higher Education under regulations set forth by The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education." (Oklahoma Constitution, Article XIII A, Section 4)

University and College Lands – Control of Institutions – Diversion of Funds

"Section thirteen in every portion of the state, which has been granted to the State, shall be preserved for the use and benefit of the University of Oklahoma and the University Preparatory School, one third; of the normal schools now established, or hereafter to be established, one third; and of the Agricultural and Mechanical College and Colored Agricultural and Normal University, one third. The said lands or the proceeds thereof as above apportioned to be divided between the institutions as the Legislature may prescribe: Provided, that the said lands so reserved, or the proceeds of the sale thereof, or of any indemnity lands granted in lieu of section thirteen shall be safely kept or invested and preserved by the State as a trust, which shall never be diminished, but may be added to, and the income thereof, interest, rentals, or otherwise, only shall be used exclusively for the benefit of said educational institutions. Such educational institutions shall remain under the exclusive control of the State and no part of the proceeds arising from the sale and disposal of any lands granted for educational purposes, or the income or rentals thereof, shall be used for the support of any religious or sectarian school, college, or university, and no portion of the funds arising from the sale of sections thirteen or any indemnity lands selected in lieu thereof, either principal or interest, shall ever be diverted, either temporarily or permanently, from the purpose for which said lands were granted to the State." (Oklahoma Constitution, Article XI, Section 5)

State Regents Internal Organization and Staff

The State Legislature in 1941 vitalized Article XIII-A of the Constitution, providing for the internal organization of the agency. There is a chairman, vice chairman, secretary and assistant secretary, all of whom are elected annually by the membership of the State Regents. The law also provides for office staff and for the furnishing of suitable permanent quarters for the State Regents.

State Regents' Office

The work of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education is defined by constitutional provision, state statute or State Regents' policy delineating coordinating responsibility for the State System of Higher Education, including the areas of institutional functions, programs of study, standards of education and finances.

The Chancellor

The Chancellor is the chief executive officer for the State Regents and provides leadership for the State System. The work of the office serves the following functions: academic affairs; administration; board relations; budget and finance; legislative; economic development; student affairs; grants and scholarships; and the Oklahoma Guaranteed Student Loan Program.

Governing Boards of Regents

While the State Regents have responsibility for determining the functions and courses of study of each institution, setting standards of education and allocating funds to carry out institutional functions, the governing boards assume responsibility for the operation of the institutions, including: Determining management policy. Employing personnel, fixing their salaries and assigning their duties. Contracting for other services needed. Having custody of records. Acquiring and holding title to property.

Among specific areas of administration control for which the governing board assumes responsibility in operating an institution are: General academic policy and administration. Student life. Budget administration. Planning and construction of buildings. Purchasing. Auxiliary activities budgeting and administration, including the issuance of revenue bonds and administration of self-liquidating properties. The governing board, through its chief executive officer, the president of the institution, makes recommendations to the coordinating board, the State Regents, regarding the institutions’ functions and programs of study, standards of education, and the budgetary needs of the institution for both general operations and for capital improvements.

Institutional Governing Boards

There are currently three constitutional governing boards and 12 statutory boards. The constitutional boards are the Board of Regents for the Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical Colleges, the Regional University System of Oklahoma and the Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma.

Entities Governed by the Board of Regents for the Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical Colleges

Oklahoma State University, Stillwater OSU Agricultural Experiment Station OSU Center for Health Sciences OSU College of Veterinary Medicine OSU Cooperative Extension Service OSU Institute of Technology, Okmulgee OSU-Oklahoma City OSU-Tulsa Connors State College, Warner and Muskogee Langston University, Langston, Oklahoma City and Tulsa Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College, Miami Oklahoma Panhandle State University, Goodwell

Entities Governed by the Regional University System of Oklahoma

East Central University, Ada Northeastern State University, Tahlequah, Broken Arrow and Muskogee Northwestern Oklahoma State University, Alva, Enid and Woodward Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Durant and Idabel Southwestern Oklahoma State University, Weatherford and Sayre University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond

Entities Governed by the Regents of the University of Oklahoma

University of Oklahoma, Norman OU Geological Survey, Norman OU Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City OU Law Center, Norman OU-Tulsa Cameron University, Lawton and Duncan Rogers State University, Claremore, Bartlesville and Pryor

Statutory Governing Boards

Board of Regents of Carl Albert State College; Board of Regents of Eastern Oklahoma State College; Board of Regents of Murray State College; Board of Regents Northern Oklahoma College; Board of Regents of Oklahoma City Community College; Board of Regents of Redlands Community College; Board of Regents of Rose State College; Board of Regents of Seminole State College; Board of Regents of Tulsa Community College; Board of Regents of Western Oklahoma State College; Board of Regents of the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma; Board of Trustees for the Quartz Mountain Arts and Conference Center and Nature Park

Higher Education Center Board of Trustees

The board of trustees for the Ardmore Higher Education Center acts as the administrative agency for the center. Its powers include negotiating agreements with institutions for courses and programs, selecting a chief executive officer, budgeting and expending funds allocated to the center, acquiring and taking title to property and entering contracts.

Board of Trustees of the Ardmore Higher Education Center

Advisory Councils and Boards

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education recognize the value of a formal structure for input from a wide variety of campus personnel. These key advisors represent each institution and assist the Regents, chancellor, Regents’ staff and others regarding issues and policies. There are nine advisory councils and boards.

Communicators Council Council of Business Officers Council on Information Technology Council on Instruction Council of Presidents Council on Student Affairs Economic Development Council Faculty Advisory Council Student Advisory Board


Establishment of the State System

The Oklahoma State System of Higher Education was established on March 11, 1941, when the people of the state adopted an amendment to the constitution, Article XIII-A, creating the State System. The amendment provides, "All nstitutions of higher education supported wholly or in part by direct legislative appropriations shall be integral parts of a unified system to be known as The Oklahoma State System of Higher Education."

Establishment of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education

"There is hereby established the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, consisting of nine (9) members appointed by the Governor, confirmed by the Senate, and who shall be removable only for cause, as provided by law for the removal of officers not subject to impeachment. Upon the taking effect of this Article, the Governor shall appoint the said Regents for terms of office as follows: one for a term of one year, one for a term of two years, one for a term of three years, one for a term of four years, one for a term of five years, one for a term of six years, one for a term of seven years, one for a term of eight years, and one for a term of nine years. Any appointment to fill a vacancy shall be for the balance of the term only. Except as above designated, the term of office of said Regents shall be nine years or until their successors are appointed and qualified.

"The Regents shall constitute a coordinating board of control for all State institutions described in Section 1 hereof, with the following specific powers: (1) it shall prescribe standards of higher education applicable to each institution; (2) it shall determine the functions and courses of study in each of the institutions to conform to the standards prescribed; (3) it shall grant degrees and other forms of academic recognition for completion of the prescribed courses in all of such institutions; (4) it shall recommend to the State Legislature the budget allocations to each institution, and (5) it shall have the power to recommend to the Legislature proposed fees for all of such institutions, and any such fees shall be effective only within the limits prescribed by the Legislature." (Oklahoma Constitution, Article XIII A, Section 2)

The Beginnings – 1890

The first Oklahoma territorial legislature passed legislation creating three institutions of higher education in 1890 in order to fulfill a requirement of the Organic Act of Congress establishing the territory. Congress required the territory to establish three types of public higher education: liberal arts and professional education, agriculture and mechanical arts education to fulfill the land grant college provisions of the Morrill Act of 1862, and teacher training.

Territorial Gov. George Washington Steele signed the bill creating the University of Oklahoma, the institution designated to provide the liberal arts and professional education, on December 19, 1890.

Six days later, on Christmas Day, 1890, Gov. Steele signed the bills creating the Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College at Stillwater, the land grant institution, and the Oklahoma Normal School for Teachers at Edmond to provide training for public school teachers in the new territory. These two institutions are known today as Oklahoma State University and University of Central Oklahoma, respectively.

The first of these three institutions to open for classes was the Normal School for Teachers, which held its first classes on November 1, 1891. Later that same year, on December 14, the first classes were held at the A&M College in Stillwater, with 45 students attending.

The University of Oklahoma opened in a rented building on Main Street in Norman in 1892 with 119 students and four faculty members, including the university’s first president, Dr. David Ross Boyd.

More Territorial Institutions

Later the territorial government established four other institutions: the Colored Agricultural and Normal University at Langston (now Langston University) and the Normal School for Teachers at Alva (now Northwestern Oklahoma State University) both in 1897; the Normal School for Teachers at Weatherford (now Southwestern Oklahoma State University) and the Oklahoma University Preparatory School at Tonkawa (now Northern Oklahoma College), both in 1901.

The Move Toward Statehood

When it became apparent that the U.S. government would not allow the Oklahoma Territory and the Indian Territory to enter the union as separate states, negotiations began among the political leaders of both territories for the unification of the two into a single entity.

One of the key issues in these negotiations was the provision of public higher education. The leaders of the Indian Territory cited the fact that the Oklahoma Territory already had seven established institutions of higher education, while there were no public colleges or universities in the Indian Territory.

Leaders agreed that immediately upon the granting of statehood to the united territories, the institutions of higher education in Oklahoma Territory would be duplicated in the Indian Territory, thus spreading geographical access to public higher education throughout the new state.

The first Oklahoma Legislature, meeting shortly after statehood, created two collegiate-level schools: the Industrial Institute and College for Girls at Chickasha (now the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma) and the School of Mines and Metallurgy at Wilburton (now Eastern Oklahoma State College). The school at Wilburton was intended to become the eastern duplicate of the university at Norman.

The same legislature also created six secondary agricultural schools, in each of the five supreme court judicial districts and the sixth in the Panhandle. These were the Connors State School of Agriculture at Warner (now Connors State College), Murray State School of Agriculture at Tishomingo (now Murray State College), Cameron State School of Agriculture at Lawton (now Cameron University), Haskell State School of Agriculture at Broken Arrow, Connell State School of Agriculture at Helena and Panhandle State School of Agriculture at Goodwell (now Oklahoma Panhandle State University).

The 1909 Legislature created three normal schools in eastern Oklahoma, to balance those operated in the west, and a preparatory school in the east, to offset the one at Tonkawa. These new institutions were Northeastern Normal School at Tahlequah (now Northeastern State University), East Central Normal School at Ada (now East Central University), Southeastern Normal School at Durant (now Southeastern Oklahoma State University) and the Eastern Oklahoma University Preparatory School at Claremore (now Rogers State University).

Institutions Closed in 1917

In 1917, several institutions were closed, two of them permanently. The Legislature, by separate action, closed the agricultural schools at Broken Arrow and Helena. Gov. Robert L. Williams, by veto of the institutions’ biennial appropriations, shut down the schools at Claremore, Wilburton and Tonkawa.

When the Legislature reconvened in 1919 with a new governor in office, the vetoed institutions were given appropriations and reopened. The Legislature then created another institution, the Miami School of Mines (now Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College).

Although no more state institutions were created for nearly 50 years, hardly a biennium went by without changes in the names, functions or governing structures of the public colleges and universities.

The Public District Junior Colleges

The 1920s and 1930s saw the development of a new type of public institution of higher education in Oklahoma, the public district junior college. In 1921 there was only one such institution, Muskogee Junior College, operated by the local school board, with an enrollment of 10 students.

By 1939 there were 20 such institutions with a total enrollment of less than 1,600. These were located at Altus, Bartlesville, Bristow, Capitol Hill (Oklahoma City), Duncan, El Reno, Kiowa County (Hobart), Muskogee, Okmulgee, Poteau, Sapulpa, Seminole, Sayre, Tillman County (Frederick), Wetumka and Woodward – all two-year colleges – and Carnegie, Holdenville, Okemah and Shidler – all one-year colleges.

Early Efforts at Coordination

The proliferation of institutions and the corresponding competition each biennium for legislative appropriations, coupled with a considerable amount of political activity concerning institutional operations, led to calls for a coordinated state system of public higher education.

As early as 1913 Gov. Lee Cruce was pleading with the Legislature for consolidation of institutional functions and the abolition of some of the smaller schools. Gov. Williams’ single-handed approach to the latter problem and its ultimate outcome have already been noted.

The first published study of the problem of coordination of higher education in Oklahoma was the doctoral dissertation of Henry G. Bennett in 1926. He recommended that a central coordinating agency be established and a state system formed under the aegis of the State Board of Education.

In 1929 Gov. William J. Holloway recommended to the Legislature a reduction in the number of governing boards and the creation of a central coordinating agency. The legislature passed a bill providing for a board to consist of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, two members to be appointed by the governor, and the presidents of five state institutions. The two gubernatorial appointees were never named and the ex-officio members never met.

Early in 1933 Gov. William H. Murray, by executive order, created a committee of nine to coordinate public higher education. In reaction, in the legislative session of that year, a bill was introduced to create a statutory coordinating board. This bill was passed, and the coordinating board was established, with 15 members to be appointed by the governor.

Although the law passed and the members of the board were appointed, the legislative appropriation for the operation of the board was killed on the final day of the session. Nevertheless, the board met and adopted a set of guiding principles for the coordinating work of the board and its internal operations.

When Gov. Murray left office, the terms of all the board members, as provided in the law creating the board, lapsed. Gov. Marland, his successor, failed to make any new appointments during his term of office.

State System Formed in 1941, Article XIII-A

In 1939 Gov. Leon C. Phillips named new members and the coordinating board began operation again. The rejuvenated board recommended that a constitutional board be established, and the 1941 Oklahoma Legislature proposed Article XIII-A of the Oklahoma Constitution.

Following legislative approval of the proposed amendment, the Legislature adjourned and a special election was held on March 11, 1941, at which the amendment was adopted, creating the State System and the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. The Legislature then reconvened and passed the necessary vitalizing legislation, thus creating the present structure of higher education in the state.

With the establishment of the State System, the 1942 Report of the State Coordinating Board noted, "Oklahoma now has the greatest opportunity in its history to chart an intelligent course for higher education on a statewide basis, and to assume a greater leadership throughout the nation than has ever before been possible." More Recent Developments No new state colleges were created from 1919 until 1968, when Tulsa Junior College (now Tulsa Community College) was established. In the years from 1939 until 1967 most of the public district junior colleges ceased to exist as a result of lack of students and financial support. One of these institutions, Altus Junior College, was converted into a state college by act of the Legislature in 1969 and became Western Oklahoma State College.

Subsequently, two new community junior colleges were formed – first, Oscar Rose Junior College at Midwest City (now Rose State College) and later, South Oklahoma City Junior College (now Oklahoma City Community College). These two new colleges, along with three of the four surviving district junior colleges, became full-fledged members of the State System by act of the Legislature in 1973. The 1987 Oklahoma Legislature merged the last remaining community junior college, Sayre Junior College, with Southwestern Oklahoma State University.

Another state institution, the Oklahoma College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery (now Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences), was authorized in 1972 by the Oklahoma Legislature and began its first classes in the fall of 1974. In 1988 that institution was merged as a constituent agency under the operation of Oklahoma State University. In 2000 Rogers State College became a four-year university, Rogers State University.

In the school year 1939-40, just prior to the creation of the State System, Oklahoma had a total of 38 public institutions of higher education, including 18 state-supported institutions and 20 public district junior colleges, with a total enrollment of less than 27,000 students. In 2010 the number of public institutions was 25, with an enrollment of more than 247,000.

Programs and Centers

Student Financial Assistance Programs

Academic Scholars Program

The Academic Scholars Program was created and funded by the Oklahoma Legislature and is administered by the State Regents as an incentive for students of high academic ability to attend both public and private higher education institutions in Oklahoma.

Brad Henry International Scholars Program

The Brad Henry International Scholars Program, established by the State Regents in June 2008, provides a $10,000 stipend for students at Oklahoma regional universities to participate in semester-long study or research programs affiliated with Swansea University in Wales. Academic credit for these programs will be awarded by the students’ universities.

Chancellor Hans Brisch Scholarship Program

The Chancellor Hans Brisch Scholarship Program serves entering freshmen in college who have high academic achievement in high school, outstanding leadership characteristics and a commitment to the enhancement of the community.

While the controlling criteria for this award shall be as stated above, the program will include students with a diversity of geographic, ethnic and economic background and who plan to pursue a variety of programs of study in institutions across the state.

Future Teachers Scholarship Program

The 1985 Oklahoma Legislature authorized the State Regents to establish and maintain an incentive scholarship program to encourage the preparation of teachers in critical shortage areas for the public schools at one or more of the Oklahoma public or private higher education institutions.

Prospective teachers, whether planning to pursue an undergraduate teacher education program or to become qualified to teach after earning a bachelor's degree in a critical shortage area, shall be considered if they have graduated from high school with a grade point average ranking them in the top 15 percent of their graduating class. To the extent that funds are available, scholarships of $1,500 per year, renewable for up to three (3) additional years, shall be awarded to cover costs of general enrollment fees, other fees, books, materials, and services provided by the institution, including room and board [70:698.1].

Oklahoma Guaranteed Student Loan Program

The Oklahoma Guaranteed Student Loan Program (OGSLP) guarantees low-interest loans through the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) to help all qualified students meet their postsecondary educational expenses. FFELP loans, obtained from eligible commercial or private lenders, educational institutions or state lenders, are guaranteed by the State Regents (through OGSLP) and reinsured by the federal government. In Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2007, OGSLP guaranteed more than 134,000 Federal Stafford and PLUS loans totaling approximately $538 million. Since its inception, OGSLP has guaranteed more than $6.9 billion in federal student loans.

In addition to guaranteeing federal student loans, OGSLP offers important college access, borrower education, and default prevention programs and services that support students and the financial aid community. OGSLP also promotes financial literacy throughout the state via the Oklahoma Money Matters program. Oklahoma’s Promise (Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program) The Oklahoma’s Promise scholarship program, created by the Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Act in 1992, allows eighth-, ninth- and 10th-grade students who enroll in the program to receive scholarships that will pay their Oklahoma college tuition if they meet income and other requirements. To qualify, students must take certain required courses and make good grades overall. Students must also stay out of trouble outside the classroom to remain eligible. Oklahoma's Promise is recognized by many as America's best college access program and is considered a model that combines emphases on academic preparation and financial support for college.

Oklahoma Tuition Aid Grant Program

The Oklahoma Tuition Aid Grant Program was established in 1971 to assist Oklahoma college students with demonstrated financial need to meet the cost of attendance at postsecondary institutions in Oklahoma through reimbursement of a portion of their cost of attendance.

Congress amended the Higher Education Act of 1965 to provide incentive grants to states for the implementation or expansion of state grant programs. Accordingly, the purpose of the Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership Program (LEAP) is to provide matching funds to encourage operation of state grant programs to improve student access and choice in higher education. States pay all administrative costs and match federal allotment dollars from non-federal resources. Funds not used by one state may be reallocated to others in proportion to their higher education enrollments.

Oklahoma Tuition Equalization Grant Program

The Oklahoma Tuition Equalization Grant (OTEG) program was established by the Oklahoma Legislature in 2003 to assist Oklahoma college students in meeting the cost of attendance at non-public postsecondary institutions in Oklahoma. To qualify, a student must be an Oklahoma resident; be a full-time undergraduate; attend a qualified Oklahoma not-for-profit, private or independent institution of higher education located in Oklahoma; have a family income of $50,000 or less; and meet their institution's policy on satisfactory academic progress for financial aid recipients. Recipients can receive awards for up to five years, not to exceed the requirements for completion of a baccalaureate program.

Regional University Baccalaureate Scholarships

Established by the State Regents in 1995, this program enables public regional universities to provide scholarships to academically promising baccalaureate students. Each regional university may nominate up to 15 freshman awardees per year.

Renee Neuwald Memorial Scholarship Program

This scholarship was created by private donations to honor the lifelong contributions of Renee Neuwald to the teaching profession. The goal of the Renee Neuwald Memorial Scholarship is to provide scholarship opportunities to outstanding students with financial need who are graduates of the Tulsa McLain High School for Science and Technology.

Tulsa Reconciliation Scholarship Program

The 2002 Oklahoma Legislature established the Tulsa Reconciliation Scholarship Program in an effort to preserve the awareness of the history and meaning of the civil unrest that occurred during the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot. Each year, two seniors from each of Tulsa’s 10 public high schools will receive $1,000, one-time scholarships.

William P. Willis Scholarship Program

The 1986 Oklahoma Legislature authorized the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education to establish and maintain a scholarship program for the purpose of providing scholarships to low-income, full-time undergraduates attending institutions in the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education.

Teacher Development Programs

Minority Teacher Recruitment Center

The Minority Teacher Recruitment Center was created for the purpose of recruiting, retaining and placing minority teachers in the public schools of the state of Oklahoma. The MTRC pre-collegiate programs include the ACE and LEAP programs for middle and high schools, and Collegiate Partnership Grants are awarded to institutions of higher education for recruitment and retention activities.

No Child Left Behind Grants

NCLB competitive grants are authorized by federal legislation for professional development for Oklahoma’s K-12 teachers to promote changes in educational practice or teachers’ content knowledge that increases student achievement in the classroom. Additionally, the intent is to influence the implementation of research-based curriculum in undergraduate and graduate teacher education programs and to strengthen collaboration among higher education institution faculty and other partners in the program.

Oklahoma Associations Supporting International Studies

OASIS is a collaboration of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, the Oklahoma Department of Education and the Oklahoma Department of Commerce to ensure a workforce prepared for global competition. Infusing international studies throughout the K-16 curricula and recruiting international students to study in Oklahoma are the goals of this effort.

Oklahoma Teacher Enhancement Program

OTEP is a Title II Grant designed to link K-12 student learning to teacher preparation. Following initial research, the Teacher Work Sample Methodology has proven to be a reliable measure of teacher impact on student learning and is being incorporated into teaching education programs.

Oklahoma Teacher Shortage Employment Incentive Program

TSEIP is a program that reimburses eligible student loan expenses or pays an equivalent cash benefit to individuals who graduate from an Oklahoma-accredited teacher education program in math or science, receive teaching certification and complete a commitment to teach math or science at least 75 percent of the time in an Oklahoma public secondary school for at least five years.

Scholars for Excellence in Child Care Program

The only program of its kind in the country, the goal of this collaboration with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services is to increase the quality of child care by enhancing the knowledge and professionalism of its workers. Eligible childcare professionals are provided an opportunity to attend a two-year college while earning credentials, certificates and degrees.

Student Programs

Concurrent Enrollment Since its inception in 2005, the Concurrent Enrollment Tuition Waiver program has allowed outstanding juniors and seniors the opportunity to earn tuition-free college credit while still in high school. More than 10,000 high school students enroll concurrently each year, generating more than 50,000 credit hours.

Cooperative Alliances Twenty-nine technology centers across the state have partnered with 18 higher education institutions and branch campuses in cooperative alliance agreements. In the past year, Oklahoma students who took courses at technology centers earned almost 73,000 credit hours toward an Associate of Applied Science degree offered by a State System college or university.

Course Equivalency Project (CEP) The Course Equivalency Project was implemented in 1996 and allows college students to view the transferability of more than 7,500 college courses in Oklahoma at OKcoursetransfer.org. Currently, almost all public institutions of higher education, as well as several private colleges and universities, participate in the CEP. The course equivalency matrix reinforces student access to the three-tiered higher education system and helps shorten the time it takes students to obtain a degree. The CEP received the Governor’s Commendation Award in 1999 for demonstrating innovation and efficiency.

GEAR UP Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) is a federally funded program designed to better prepare middle and high school students for college through academic preparation programs and scholarships for students, professional development activities for educators, leadership development for parents, and college access information for students and parents.

Since 1999 Oklahoma GEAR UP has targeted resources and services to priority students through partnerships among the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education; Oklahoma colleges and universities; public schools; faith, tribal and community-based organizations; and businesses.

Oklahoma GEAR UP is built on two broad college access components: scholarship funding through Oklahoma’s Promise and early intervention strategies.

Oklahoma Campus Compact Oklahoma Campus Compact (OkCC) is an organization of Oklahoma college and university presidents who have committed to articulating the importance of civic responsibility as an outcome of higher education. It was established in October 2000 and represents 33 public and independent institutions in Oklahoma. OkCC provides leadership, networking and technical assistance to campuses and communities in the areas of: service learning, civic engagement and community service.

Oklahoma Educational Planning and Assessment System (OK EPAS) The EPAS program provides assistance to Oklahoma’s middle school and high school students to be better prepared for college. School districts volunteer to participate in the program that includes three assessments, EXPLORE, PLAN and the ACT. EPAS serves nearly 500 school districts and 85,000 eighth and 10th graders. Improvements in many major areas have been documented, including ACT scores, college-going rates and remediation.

Oklahoma Money Matters Oklahoma Money Matters (OKMM), the financial literacy initiative of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and the Oklahoma Guaranteed Student Loan Program, serves as an information clearinghouse to help youth and adults successfully manage personal finances, understand consumer credit and navigate the financial aid process. OKMM supports financial education through targeted outreach and development of community partnerships to increase public awareness of financial literacy issues, build knowledge of fiscal principles and share available resources.

Plan4College Centers Plan4College Centers offer students and families a local, one-stop shop for their college information needs. The sites host a computer dedicated solely to college planning. Visitors are just one click away from learning about courses to take and grades to make, exploring colleges, finding a career, filling out college applications and applying for financial aid. Also, a knowledgeable person is available at each center to sit down one-on-one with students and families to answer their questions as well as help them determine the steps they need to take in order to create personalized plans for college. There are more than 40 Plan4College Centers located throughout the state. The Plan4College Centers are funded by GEAR UP.

Reach Higher – Oklahoma’s Adult Degree Completion Program Nine of Oklahoma’s regional public universities offer a degree completion program for working adults. It’s a way to finish a bachelor’s degree in an intensive, flexible format that’s convenient for Oklahomans who wish to attend school while working and raising a family.

Students who successfully complete the program are granted a Bachelor of Science in organizational leadership. The curriculum consists of skills and theory regarding organizational behavior, ethics, interpersonal skills, management, finance and communication skills.

Summer Academies in Math and Science Summer Academies are designed to enhance eighth- through 12th-grade students' knowledge of math and science by introducing them to new and exciting fields and concepts through hands-on learning experiences. Academies last from one to six weeks on college and university campuses across the state. Depending on the academy format, students either stay on campus or commute from home.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Programs Designed for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients, these programs offer training in computer applications, customer service, life skills, resume preparation and more. Offered at all Oklahoma two-year colleges, the programs provide employment and training skills to TANF recipients so they may ultimately become members of the workforce and attain self-sufficiency.

www.OKcollegestart.org This comprehensive, Web-based information system is a "one-stop" destination for students and parents who want to get ready for college. The site lets students create a customized profile, learn about paying for college, prepare for the ACT, explore careers and find a college that is right for them. Click, compare, choose at OKcollegestart.org.


Ardmore Higher Education Center

The Ardmore Higher Education Center was created by the 1974 Oklahoma Legislature. Instruction of students enrolled through the higher education program in Ardmore is provided by East Central University, Murray State College and Southeastern Oklahoma State University. Students at the Ardmore Higher Education Center receive resident credit from the institution offering the coursework.

Kerr Conference Center

In 1978 the Robert S. Kerr home and approximately 40 acres (160,000 m2) of surrounding land near Poteau in Le Flore County was donated to the state of Oklahoma for educational purposes. The State Regents, with the aid and cooperation of other state and federal agencies, converted the Kerr home into a conference center for use by education, government and industry. The State Regents contract with Carl Albert State College for administration, food service, maintenance and security at the center.

Quartz Mountain Arts and Conference Center and Nature Park

Located in southwestern Oklahoma near Altus, the center includes a newly built 120-room lodge, an arts conference center, performance complexes, an 18-hole golf course and a nature park. The State Regents have had responsibility for the center since January 2002.

The mission of the center is to develop, sustain and protect a world-renowned educational destination as a cultural conference center, arts park and natural preserve with recreational experiences compatible with that environment.

The facilities have annually hosted the Summer Arts Institute, an institute for gifted and talented fine arts high school students, since 1978.

Additional Programs

Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count

Achieving the Dream is a national initiative to help more community college students succeed by completing college courses and earning certificates and/or degrees. The initiative is particularly focused on student groups that have faced the most significant barriers to success, including low-income students and students of color. Achieving the Dream focuses colleges and others on understanding and making better use of data. It acts on multiple fronts, including efforts at community colleges and in research, public engagement and public policy.

Brain Gain Funding

The Oklahoma State Regents annually allocate Brain Gain performance funds to institutions that have shown improvement in their retention or graduation rates. The program is based on the State Regents’ Brain Gain 2010 initiative created in 1999 to increase the percentage of degree holders in Oklahoma. The Regents also provide grant support for campus-based initiatives designed to enhance colleges’ retention, graduation and degree-completion efforts.

Improvement Grants have been funded since 2004 to aid campuses in implementing intervention strategies that will improve student retention, graduation and degree completion, either campus-wide or for targeted populations. In 2005, Programs of Excellence Grants were awarded to five institutions that are implementing innovative, relevant and high-quality academic programs that also foster creativity.

Campus Life and Safety and Security (CLASS) Task Force

The Campus Life and Safety and Security (CLASS) Task Force was created by an Executive Order from Gov. Brad Henry in April 2007 to review and evaluate current safety and security plans and student counseling services already in place for higher education and career technology institutions and to make recommendations and assist in the implementation of any needed changes. The task force submits annual reports, and a final report will be submitted by Dec. 31, 2010.

Dr. Glen D. Johnson, chancellor of the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education, serves as chairman of the task force. Vice chairman is Dr. Phil Berkenbile, director of the Department of Career and Technology Education. The task force also includes 13 members from Oklahoma higher education, career technology education, public safety and health services.

Complete College America

Oklahoma, along with 29 other states, form Complete College America’s Alliance of States, a select group of leading states working to dramatically increase the number of young adults with a college degree or credential, to set degree goals and to develop and implement aggressive state- and campus-level action plans to meet those goals.

Established in 2009, Complete College America provides Oklahoma with tangible and practical support to help implement a range of strategies that will bring needed changes in the culture and practices of its public postsecondary institutions. Oklahoma will receive in-depth technical support from America’s leading experts on improving college success, including assistance in building consensus for reform and developing policy action plans; guidance on applying for and effectively using federal funding to produce more degrees; and annual networking opportunities.

Five national foundations are providing multi-year support to Complete College America, including the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Lumina Foundation for Education.

Economic Development Grant Program

The State Regents established the Economic Development Grant Program in January 1988. It is keyed to support the efforts of the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education to develop Oklahoma’s workforce, establish centers of intellectual excellence and commercialize research outcomes. The grant program encourages institutions to promote an entrepreneurial vision on their campuses that advances workforce and enterprise development and the commercialization of research.

Endowment Fund Program

The Endowment Fund Program was started in 1988 to attract and retain faculty by establishing professorships, chairs and related activities to improve the quality of instruction and research at state colleges and universities.

EPSCoR Matching Fund Program

The Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) is a federal initiative targeting states that have historically received a low amount of federal research funds. The State Regents is the fiscal agent for providing matching funds for initiatives to develop advanced research capabilities.

Making Place Matter

The purpose Making Place Matter is to enhance the utilization of campus assets to meet the state’s economic and community development needs. Through the implementation of the program, Oklahoma’s public higher education institutions are provided guidance and support in evaluating and addressing critical economic and community development challenges. By bringing community and regional partners to the table and using reliable data, the institutions acquire and implement tools to assist with economic and community development.

Master Lease Purchase Program

The State System Master Lease Purchase Program offers a method of financing the acquisition of major personal and real property that will provide cost efficiencies in finance and administration. Authorized institutions must enter into lease agreements for values of $50,000 to $10 million. The lease terms will vary by the useful life of the equipment purchased, but the useful life must not exceed 20 years.

Office of Accountability

Assigned to the State Regents as fiscal agent by the Legislature in 2003, the office provides reports regarding the performance of public schools to the people of Oklahoma. The office implements the Oklahoma Educational Indicators Program, monitors compliance progress made by districts, and makes reports and recommendations where appropriate to the president pro tempore of the Senate, the speaker of the House of Representatives, and the governor.

Oklahoma College Savings Plan

This plan allows anyone – parents, grandparents, friends, etc. – to open a tax-advantaged account for a child through payroll deduction or direct contribution. Funds can be used for college expenses at nearly all colleges and universities in the United States. The earnings on the investments are free from federal and Oklahoma taxes if used for eligible college expenses. Annual contributions of up to $10,000 per taxpayer are deductible from Oklahoma taxable income.


The Oklahoma Legislature established OneNet in 1992, building upon and succeeding the televised instruction system operated by the State Regents, with the approval of a statewide capital bond issue that provided $14 million for the implementation of a statewide telecommunications network. OneNet operates hub sites throughout Oklahoma to provide the infrastructure to support a high-speed telecommunications network with an equitable rate structure.

OneNet's state-of-the-art technology and dedicated staff currently provide high-speed communications to a variety of Oklahoma entities, such as public and career technology schools; colleges and universities; public libraries; local, tribal, state and federal governments; court systems; rural health care delivery systems; and programs engaged in research.

The extension of the National Lambda Rail (NLR) through Oklahoma in 2005 is making a profound impact on Oklahoma's economy. The NLR is a major national initiative that provides a national technical support structure for research and experimentation. Using OneNet's existing network for in-state distribution, Oklahoma is substantially more competitive for research projects.

Online College of Oklahoma (OCO)

In response to increased demand for anytime, anywhere learning, OCO was established as a pilot project in spring 2000. OCO builds on existing distance education resources (the Oklahoma Electronic Campus) to provide Oklahomans with convenient access to high-quality educational courses, programs and resources offered by state colleges and universities.

Regents Education Program

The purpose of the Regents Education Program is to educate Oklahoma regents and trustees about the nature of their responsibilities and the seriousness with which they should be undertaken. More specifically, the program is to provide information and understandings that will allow regents and trustees to perform their public responsibilities and to govern successfully in the face of greater calls for wider programs and services, mandates for greater accountability, changing clientele and demands, and resource scarcity.

SMART: Single Mothers Academic Resource Team

SMART identifies and advocates for pathways so that nearly 30,000 single-parent students can complete their higher education goals. SMART is collaboratively funded by the Women’s Foundation of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and GEAR UP.

Other Responsibilities

In addition to the responsibilities of the State Regents set forth in the Constitution, the Oklahoma Legislature has assigned the following to the coordinating board of control:

Federal Funds/Gifts/Scholarships

Accept federal funds/grants, accept and disburse grants, gifts and other money (foundations, individuals), and disburse scholarship funds and rewards for merit.

Allocation of Non-State Funds

Allocate revolving and other non-state appropriated E&G funds.

Property Transfer

Transfer from one institution to another any property belonging to such institutions when no longer needed by it and when needed by another institution to accomplish its functions.

Annual Report/Studies/Surveys

Conduct and publish reports, gather information about needs of state institutions and make additional reports and recommendations as necessary to the governor and Legislature.

Exercise All Powers necessary or convenient to accomplish the purpose and objectives of Article XIII-A of the Constitution.

Issue Bonds

Issue obligations on behalf of the institutions within the State System, except for the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University, for the purpose of funding capital projects at those institutions.

Other Responsibilities

In addition to the above general responsibilities, the Legislature has assigned administration or directives for the following to the State Regents:

  • Accreditation of private colleges and universities (1965)
  • State guarantee agency for Oklahoma Guaranteed Student Loan Program (1965)
  • Examination of Revenue Bond Statement of Essential Facts (1970)
  • Establishment and maintenance of state’s Televised Instruction System (1970)
  • Tuition Aid Grant Program (1971)
  • Study of employee benefit program (1974)
  • Study of salary and other remunerative benefits, workloads (1974)
  • Ardmore Higher Education Center (1975)
  • Kerr Conference Center
  • State Plan for Civil Rights (1979)
  • Uniform course number system (1979)
  • McCurtain County Higher Education Center (1982)
  • Procedures and reporting on Faculty English Proficiency (1982)
  • Development and administration of Professional Training Institutes, EESA (1985)
  • Administration of the regional education program for the Southern Regional Education Board (1985)
  • Management and control of the William P. Willis Trust and Scholarship Funds (1986)
  • Management of the Endowment Fund Program (1988)
  • Management of the Academic Scholars Program (1988)
  • Enid Higher Education Program (1989)
  • Summer Academies in Math and Science (1989)
  • Minority Teacher Recruitment Center (1990)
  • Regents Education Program (1990)
  • OneNet (1992)
  • Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program [Oklahoma’s Promise] (1992)
  • Long-Range Capital Planning (1995)
  • Master Lease Program (1999)
  • Quartz Mountain Arts and Conference Center (2002)
  • Office of Accountability (2003)
  • Oklahoma Tuition Equalization Grant Program (2003)
  • Approval and coordination of student fees and tuition at State System institutions, within legislative limits (2003)

This list is not all-inclusive. Under past legislation, which has since been repealed, the State Regents have also served as the governing board for the osteopathic college and as the fiscal agent for the Oklahoma Guaranteed Student Loan Program and have administered the osteopathic and optometry education assistance contract programs.

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