With so much focus on pre-K through twelfth grade education funding, it is easy to overlook the more drastic cuts that higher education has sustained over the past decade. State spending on higher education has decreased by 26 percent since 2008 with Oklahoma leading the nation for the most drastic cuts between 2012 and 2017. Unfortunately, last year’s boost to PK-12 education funding did not extend to higher education whose budget remained virtually flat from the previous year.
This session the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education has asked for a $101.5 million increase over last year’s budget to help undo budget cuts made over the past decade. Maintaining a robust system of higher education in Oklahoma is vital to our state’s economy. By 2020, 67 percent of all jobs created in Oklahoma will require some college, a certificate, or a college degree. Legislators would be wise to invest some of this year’s growth revenue back into higher education so our economy can continue to thrive for years to come.