Education (Higher)


SB 1426 (Ford/Boyd, B.): Dissolves Rogers University and creates Oklahoma State University/Tulsa under the Board of Regents for Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical Colleges to offer upper division undergraduate programs and courses leading to baccalaureate degrees from Oklahoma State University. Creates Rogers State University in Claremore under the Board of Regents of Oklahoma Colleges to offer four years of undergraduate education leading to baccalaureate degrees. The bill also establishes a branch of Langston University and authorizes the creation of a branch of Northeastern State University in the Tulsa metropolitan area, both branches to be established on July 1, 2001.

Graduate level opportunities are significantly enhanced by the creation of the University of Oklahoma/Oklahoma State University Graduate Center in Tulsa through Senate Bill 1426. Besides bringing the resources of the two public comprehensive Oklahoma research institutions to Tulsa, the OU/OSU Graduate Center will pull together resources from private institutions in the Tulsa area as well as the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine in Tulsa and the Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine to form a major research and graduate presence in Tulsa.

HB 2863 (Bonny/Robinson): Enacts the Oklahoma Technology Transfer Act of 1998. The bill requires the State Regents for Higher Education to establish a model policy governing the use of university facilities for conducting research and developing new technologies in cooperation with private businesses. The policy will address the investments universities may make in these businesses and royalties which they may receive. The bill authorizes the board of regents for each university to own an equity interest, through an exchange of value, in these businesses and prohibits the use of appropriated funds for acquiring this equity interest. The policy will also address the property interests of faculty and students in technology which they develop while at the university, or in a business developing the technology, and revenues which they may receive. Ethics rules which prevent state employees from using their position to receive compensation are amended to exempt the receipt of revenues as a result of such property interests.

The bill authorizes the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST) to develop and implement a technology business financing program, and clarifies the roles of the OCAST commercialization center and the universities' technology transfer offices.

HB 2934 (Blackburn/Henry): Creates "The Oklahoma College Savings Plan Act". The purpose of the program is to allow Oklahomans to benefit from new federal tax laws that provide tax breaks persons in states that have qualified tuition savings programs in place.

Creates board of trustees for the Oklahoma College Savings Plan to consist of the State Treasurer (Chair), the State Auditor Inspector, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Chancellor of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, and three members of the general public, each of whom possesses knowledge, skill and experience in accounting. States the powers and duties of the board. Places the day-to-day operations and responsibilities of the program with the State Treasurer.

Allows for the participation of one or more financial institutions to service the program. Requires the board to select financial institutions for the program to be selected on a competitive basis based on the certain criteria.

Allows individuals to establish accounts for named beneficiaries. Allows the public and non-profit entities to establish accounts for the purpose of scholarships without a named beneficiary. Allows invested money to grow tax deferred. Taxes money earnings upon withdrawal by the account beneficiary (student) for qualified higher education expenses at the rate of the student. Provides that, for determining financial aid eligibility, monies accrued in the account be considered as assets of the student's parent or guardian.

HB 3086 (Braddock/Morgan): Requires each board of regents of institutions in the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education to implement a quality control review of the internal audit functions at each institution that it governs. A copy of the quality control review report will be filed with the State Auditor and Inspector.

HJR 1073 (Bonny/Robinson): Companion legislation to HB 2863(1) to refer to a vote of the people amendments to the Oklahoma Constitution which address technology transfer. The amendments authorize use of university facilities to develop and commercialize technology in joint ventures with private businesses which may profit from the technology and allow universities, faculty, and students involved in these joint ventures to have an ownership interest in the technology and the collaborating businesses. These amendments will appear on the ballot as State Questions 680 and 681. 


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