OKLAHOMA CITY — A recent study says Oklahoma is leading the U.S. in higher education cuts over the last five years.
The study conducted by Illinois State University shows that Oklahoma's appropriations for education have decreased since 2012 by nearly 18 percent.
The only other states whose last five-year appropriations accounted for an overall decrease were Louisiana, West Virginia, Alaska, Kentucky, Arkansas and Kansas, according to the study.
The decreases range from 11.5 percent in Louisiana to a 1.8 percent decrease in Arkansas and Kansas, the Tulsa World reported.
The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education approved tuition increases in June at 25 of the state's 27 public colleges and universities.
"In higher education, you have kind of all the colleges lumped in together, and cuts hurt every single one of us, but when you get down to the community college level, the two-year college level, the rural college level, those cuts can be much more severe," said Jordan Adams, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M; College's public information and marketing coordinator.
Adams said that in the last decade Northeastern Oklahoma A&M; College's appropriation have dwindled by about $3 million, with about $2 million of those cuts coming in the last three years.
"We're going to continue to do our best with what we have to educate as many students as possible and put them into the workforce, but each cut makes that more difficult," Adams said.
Nicole Burgin is the schools media relations specialist for Tulsa Community College. She said that over the past three fiscal years the college has lost nearly $9.1 million in state funding. It saw a nearly $2 million decrease from fiscal year 2017 to 2018.