There is ample higher education funding already available to create a new state university in Tulsa, according to a Senate analysis commissioned by a Tulsa area lawmaker. The statistics indicate current higher education appropriations will support a four-year university in Tulsa.
"In all of the emotional arguments about higher education in Tulsa, I think people have neglected to look at the hard facts. The numbers show we can build a strong four-year university in Tulsa without taking a single penny from any other college around the state," said Senator Lewis Long, who has filed a bill to create a state university in Tulsa.
"I can't understand why the State Regents haven't done the math on this yet. If they had, maybe we would already have a state university in Tulsa, instead of sitting around arguing about one."
The Glenpool legislator cited appropriations and per student funding figures demonstrating that Rogers University already receives state appropriations comparable to the other regional universities in Oklahoma. The findings of the Senate analysis include:
"When you look at all the funding that goes to Rogers University and the number of students enrolled there, you've already got the necessary ingredients for a top-flight, four-year university in Tulsa. The only thing missing is what the people of Tulsa have asked for, a free-standing state university. That's what I'm trying to correct," said Senator Long.
Opponents of a four-year Tulsa state university have consistently pointed to a supposed lack of funding, but Senator Long said the latest analysis disproves that argument.
"All the naysayers keep carping about how we don't have the money, but the facts prove otherwise. If we have the money and the numbers show we do, what legitimate reason is there to deny Tulsa a state university?" asked Senator Long.
"The people of Tulsa deserve a straight answer to that question, not the same old mumbo jumbo about inadequate resources. We've waited patiently for the State Regents to do something in Tulsa, but all we've gotten are vague pronouncements and empty promises. It's about time someone was held accountable for the disservice that's been done to the students, the parents and the business people in Tulsa."
Hans Brisch, the chancellor of higher education, is set to appear before the Senate Education Committee tomorrow to explain the State Regents' latest plans for Tulsa.
"I'm anxious to hear his remarks in light of the latest Senate analysis. A lack of money has always been the excuse for giving Tulsa the shaft on higher education, but that argument doesn't hold water anymore. I'll be interested to hear the basis for the chancellor's latest objection to a four-year Tulsa university," said Senator Long.