Our constitution mandated the support of our state-owned universities, so that our own people would have the means of attaining higher education without leaving the state. That model has turned into a corrupted, bloated, and outdated mode of repression. It pillages our state to the tune of 14% of our state budget. It undermines the dozens of private universities in our state whose faculty is forced to subsidize their competition.
On Tuesday I visited with Rep. Calvey at his capitol office. He wanted to be sure that his research got published. I committed to him that I would assist in that effort. KOCO-5 did publish his research. Here's some of their reporting.
OKLAHOMA CITY --
A state representative is taking a closer look at scholarships from Oklahoma universities, saying he believes all academic scholarships should go to Oklahomans.
Rep. Kevin Calvey, R-Edmond, said he wants to make some changes that will reflect positively on Oklahomans who need scholarships for students in their home state. He said Oklahoma students should always come first.
“Why should taxpayers have to subsidize students that aren’t even Oklahomans to go to school here? That doesn’t seem to make sense,” Calvey said. “It should be solely going to students who are from Oklahoma and should be for those who stay in Oklahoma. That way we make sure the taxpayers are getting a good return on their investment.”
According to Calvey’s research, that isn’t happening. He started requesting information from universities when the topic of academic scholarships was brought to his attention.
“I had a constituent contact me and said, ‘Why is OU actually spending taxpayer dollars for scholarships to people from Texas?’” Calvey said.
The constituent didn’t ask just about students from the state on the other side of the Red River, but students across the country and overseas. Calvey said the millions of dollars in scholarships should be used on students from Oklahoma, who are most likely to stay in the state after graduation.
“Let’s restrict these scholarship programs to Oklahoma residents,” Calvey said. “Good god, that’s ridiculous. A poor student from Oklahoma City can’t get into OU, and yet their parents are being taxed to fund somebody else who took their place and not even from Oklahoma.”
“The program was established by the state legislature and brings high caliber students to our state that provide a significant economic boost to Oklahoma. At OSU, non-resident undergraduate students contribute more than $225 million to the university through tuition/fees, room/board and books/supplies. This revenue from outside the state helps OSU hold down costs for in-state students. OSU continues to accept every Oklahoma student that meets eligibility requirements.”
The Oklahoma State Regents of Higher Education released the following statement:
“The purpose of the Oklahoma State Regents' Academic Scholars Program is to retain top-ranked students from Oklahoma in Oklahoma colleges, enable Oklahoma institutions of higher education to compete aggressively for top Oklahoma scholars, attract high-caliber out-of-state students to Oklahoma to attend colleges and universities, and enhance the academic quality in Oklahoma colleges and universities.”
Calvey said he plans on addressing this issue in January, when bills can be introduced.