Connors State Student Government Association joined more than 300 students, faculty and representatives from Oklahomas public colleges and universities at the state Capitol Tuesday, February 14, to promote the value and importance of higher education in the state.
Speakers included Chancellor Glen D. Johnson; Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb; Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Schulz; Rep. Jon Echols, Majority Floor Leader; and President Randy Beutler, chair, State System Council of Presidents.
Higher Education Day affords students and campus representatives an opportunity to meet with their legislators and make the case that investing in higher education must be a top state priority, said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. Despite historic budget cuts to higher education in FY 2017, our state system of higher education remains committed to increasing college degree and certificate attainment, which strengthens Oklahomas economy and workforce.
For FY 2018, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education have requested $957.9 million. Strengthening Oklahomas workforce pipeline through the Complete College America degree and certificate completion plan continues to be the state system of higher educations top priority. The State Regents are requesting $122.7 million for degree completion programs and initiatives. This investment will provide state colleges and universities funding to meet instruction and academic enterprise requirements and for institutional scholarships.
Increased financial aid funding will also be a priority for the State Regents in the upcoming legislative session. The State Regents are seeking $12.7 million to restore scholarship programs and fully fund the concurrent enrollment program, which provides tuition waivers to high school seniors who enroll in college coursework during their senior year.
In an effort to bring awareness to higher education in the state, Connors State College took to the internet for a viral social media campaign, using the hashtag #Ihearthighered, the marketing department published photos of faculty, staff, and students throughout the college holding signs made for the campaign, as well as flooding social media sites Twitter and Facebook with photos, status updates, custom graphics, and messages of support of higher education.