The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local news

January 23, 2013

Higher ed chancellor will speak in Tonkawa Friday

ENID, Okla. — TONKAWA — The chancellor of Oklahoma State System for Higher Education will ask legislators this year for more money for higher education, but less than the state gave five years ago.

Glen Johnson, chancellor of Oklahoma State System for Higher Education, will be at Tonkawa Friday to discuss the goals and needs of colleges and universities in Oklahoma. Johnson will discuss the 2013 higher education legislative agenda in a public meeting at the Renfro Center on the Northern Oklahoma College Tonkawa campus. The meeting is hosted by NOC, Northwestern Oklahoma State University and the University Center at Ponca City.

Ben Hardcastle, director of communications for Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, outlined Johnson’s plans for the meeting.

“The chancellor will talk about the legislative agenda for this year, and the budget request,” Hardcastle said. “He will also talk about the accomplishments of higher education in the last year.”

Hardcastle said Johnson will ask legislators for $90.4 million in new appropriations.

“That’s about a 9.4 percent increase over last year,” Hardcastle said. “With that increase we would still be below the 2008 allocation.”

Hardcastle said enrollment at colleges and universities is up, while funding is down.

“In the last four years, systemwide, we are looking at about 14,000 additional students who have been enrolled,” Hardcastle said. “That’s roughly the size of University of Central Oklahoma.”

Hardcastle said colleges and universities in Oklahoma have found many ways to save money, and their efforts have led to savings of about $411 million, but the additional enrollment has created “a significant squeeze” on the colleges and universities.

Hardcastle said tuition has increased an average of 5 percent per year throughout the state.

“That still makes Oklahoma one of the most affordable states in education,” Hardcastle said.

Johnson’s appearance will be at 11:30 a.m. Friday. Lunch will be included. To attend, RSVP to Taylor Cline at taylor.cline@north-ok.edu or by calling (580) 628-6292.

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