Higher education cuts in Oklahoma on the way
Higher education cuts on the state level continue despite mounting evidence that cutting money from colleges and universities serves as a hindrance in the future. This time the state that could suffer is Oklahoma.
According to KTUL.com, state lawmakers are grappling with how to fill a budget hole of nearly $1 billion next year.
First on the chopping block is higher education, of course.
KTUL reports that:
“Higher education received 14.4 percent of total state appropriations this fiscal year. Those funds account for 35 percent of the higher education budget – compared with 50 percent less than 10 years ago.”
In an effort to keep costs down and brace for the potential cuts, officials at the state’s colleges are planning to share resources and will implement joint-degree programs to save money.
Instead of filling vacant positions at some schools, they will be left as is. While campus closure isn’t on the list yet, some offices and programs are already being closed.
If none of that works – the office closings, joint degrees, and vacant positions — then we’re likely to see a hike in tuition in Oklahoma.
Officials have stated that they are attempting to keep college affordable by staying away from a tuition hike, but with such a large shortfall, it might be impossible. Unfortunately cutting higher education funding has negative implications that stretch far beyond the current financial crisis. When students can’t afford to earn a degree or certificate, or the resources are stripped down, it will impact the economy of the state. It seems to me that P-20 education should be protected from cuts like these, yet they always seem to be the first to be pared down.