Friday, December 6, 2013
By Kathryn McNutt • Published: December 5, 2013
Oklahoma's Complete College America program is gaining national attention from both education and business leaders.
The state will be recognized Dec. 11 at the White House for its remediation education efforts and was praised by Business Roundtable — an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies — for its performance funding model in a letter dated Nov. 26.
Members of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education heard about the accolades Wednesday during their meeting in Oklahoma City.
“Performance funding is our strongest area (of Complete College America),” said Tony Hutchison, vice chancellor for workforce and economic development for the regents.
Established in 2009, Complete College America is a national nonprofit that works with 34 participating states to significantly increase the number of Americans with quality career certificates or college degrees. Oklahoma came on board in 2011.
It is one of 10 states that have implemented performance funding, which ties dollars to progress and success rather than enrollment.
For the past two years, new appropriations have been allocated based on things like whether an institution is retaining first-year students and is increasing the number of degrees and certificates awarded, Hutchison said.
“It rewards schools for success,” Hutchison said.
Each institution submits a plan for degree completion based on its mix of students, he said.
Hutchison gave a presentation on Oklahoma's degree completion program at the Complete College America fall forum in Salt Lake City.
“We are making very diligent efforts to complete college education in Oklahoma,” Hutchison said.
Leading edge sought
The state historically has been below the national average, he said.
“We want to be on the leading edge. It's not just good for individuals. It also improves the economy of the state that they live in.”