The Norman Transcript

Opinion

June 19, 2013

Degrees of progress

NORMAN — Oklahoma higher education institutions have been challenged to increase the number of students who graduate. The 1,700 graduate increase goal was soon passed and officials reported about 3,000 more degrees awarded last year over the previous year.

Gov. Mary Fallin, other governors and higher education leaders want a national 60 percent graduation or professional certification rate by 2025. Currently, about a third of the state’s adults have college degrees.

A new published report suggests Oklahoma is making progress but still ranks 42nd in the nation in degree completion. The Lumina Foundation encourages Oklahoma to seek out those adults who left school without a degree in hand. That market would seem to be ripe for universities to tap into if some restrictions about time limits for completion were lifted.

For several years, OU has attempted various ways to encourage students to carry more credit hours per semester, thus getting closer to a degree in four years. The “Think 15” credit hours campaign appears to be working and other incentives are planned.

It is estimated that more than half of all jobs in Oklahoma will require some form of higher education by 2018.

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