OKLAHOMA CITY – University and college representatives from across the state convened at the Oklahoma State Capitol on Feb. 11 to advocate for higher education funding and discuss their legislative agenda with lawmakers for Higher Education Day.

Sen. Wayne Shaw, R-Grove, met with representatives from Rogers State University, Claremore, Okla., and Northeastern A&M College, Miami, Okla., during the advocacy day to discuss key initiatives important to the higher education system. Initiatives included:

• Increasing the number of degrees and certificates earned in Oklahoma by 67 percent by 2023

• Enhancing the capacity to successfully enroll, retain and graduate students

• Increasing systemwide efficiencies and cost-savings

• Strengthening financial support for Oklahoma college students

• Targeting economic development activities to support economic growth

“It was great meeting with representatives from Rogers State and NEO, and I’m committed to investing in Oklahoma’s higher education system,” Shaw said. “Data shows us that 87 percent of Oklahoma’s college graduates remain in our state and are employed here one year after graduation. An investment in higher education leads to a more qualified workforce and greater economic opportunities for Oklahoma.”

Shaw said he was impressed with the representatives he met, as well as the information they shared with him. Every dollar invested in NEO generates $7.40 in economic output, and every dollar invested in Rogers State generates $7.60 in economic output, which positively impacts District 3 since both higher-ed institutions have campuses within district boundaries, he said.

“During the 2018-2019 academic year, more than 16,000 students enrolled at institutions either in or adjacent to District 3,” Shaw said. “Our small towns are thriving because of the students who choose to come to college in Green Country. I will continue to support our students working towards their college degrees so they can make Oklahoma a better state to work, live and raise a family. After meeting with some of our future leaders, I know it is an investment worth making.”