The Oklahoma Legislature created a task force this week to explore ways to increase the number of citizens saving for college educations. House Concurrent Resolution 1075, authored by Senator Daisy Lawler and Rep. Randy Terrill, creates the Oklahoma College Savings Task Force.
“In the Legislature, we’re always looking for ways to make our state more economically competitive and prosperous, and studies show that increasing the number of college graduates will do just that,” said Lawler, D-Comanche. “We’re hoping that through this task force we can find ways to help students from lower and middle income families better handle the financial burden of a college education.”
Lawler noted that college education is limited by college savings and findings show that the rising cost of a college education decreases access. The purpose of the task force is to review and make recommendations about program options to increase the number of, and amount of, savings in Oklahoma 529 college savings plans, particularly the college savings of lower income families.
“We believe that by increasing the number of Oklahoma families that save for a college education for their children, we can increase the number of children expected to complete their college education,“ Terrill said. “Our ultimate goal is to help more Oklahomans attain a college degree because it could be their pathway out of poverty and into a better life.”
The 16-member task force will consist of state agency heads, representatives from the banking, finance and investment industry, financial literacy organizations, and economic development groups as well as appointments made by the Governor and legislative leaders.
“Besides helping a person obtain their college degree, saving for a college education can improve family financial responsibility, and encourage broader saving for homeownership, entrepreneurship and retirement,” said Lawler. “This is a process that can have wide sweeping positive effects, so it’s very important that we get to work as soon as possible for the future of our children and our state.”
The first meeting will be called by the Governor and held no later than September 15, 2006. The findings and recommendations of the Task Force will be reported by December 31, 2006.