OCPA Asks David Boren and Don Betz to Correct Their Statements on Higher Education Funding
Published: June 23rd, 2017
OKLAHOMA CITY—The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA) sent a letter this week to University of Oklahoma President David Boren and University of Central Oklahoma President Don Betz asking them to correct statements they made about higher education funding in Oklahoma.
A recent news story claimed Oklahoma is “dead last in the nation when it comes to state tax support for higher education” and quoted President Betz saying, “We’ve been flirting with that ranking for some time.”
A subsequent story quoted President Boren saying, “we’re officially dead last (nationally) in what we spend as a state in higher education.”
“These claims are not supported by the facts,” OCPA President Jonathan Small said after examining the Grapevine study (https:/Education,.illinoisstate.edu/grapevine/tables/)
that was the stated source of the ranking.
“Actually, the study ranks Oklahoma 31st, without even adjusting for our lower cost of living, in state support for higher education. That means Oklahoma provides more support than 19 states—totally at odds with what President Boren and President Betz said.”
The study also breaks down the numbers in terms of state population, where Oklahoma ranks 38th among the states. And with cost of living considered, Oklahoma jumps to 28th in total state support. “What the study actually shows is that we’re firmly in the middle of the pack when it comes to state support for higher education,” said Small.
“No matter how you look at the data, Oklahoma is nowhere near ‘dead last’ in state spending on higher education,” Small said.
“The comments made by President Boren and President Betz are part of a false narrative that Oklahoma taxpayers don’t pay enough to higher education. It’s time for President Boren and President Betz to correct their statements. Both taxpayers and tuition payers deserve an honest conversation about higher education funding.”