“Success is not a random act. It arises out of a predictable and powerful set of circumstances and opportunities.”
-Malcolm Gladwell
Higher Ed That Works
by Connie Reilly, Chair
To university faculty, staff and administration, I want to start by thanking you. My first few months as Chair of the Board of Regents of the Regional University System of Oklahoma have reinforced what I have always known to be true our university system is strong, impactful and provides great value for students, and it is truly thanks to all of you.

In my recent op-ed in the Oklahoman, I shared a bit about our value. For a full-time student enrolled at a regional university in our state, the average annual total cost to attend is 46 percent less than at the University of Oklahoma or Oklahoma State University. As you know, we take special care to keep fees low. We are dedicated to implementing smart, effective budgets with the understanding that higher education in Oklahoma continues to be underfunded.
It is important that Oklahoma’s business community, policy makers and advocates understand our value. RUSO is a higher education system that works for Oklahoma. We are accessible 99 percent of the state’s population is within an hour drive of one of our locations. Our academic programs are not only affordable, they are top notch conferring 43 percent of all bachelor’s degrees in the state annually. Our universities are consistently dedicated to building our pipeline to the expanding aerospace and engineering industries in Oklahoma. We have long provided the state with qualified nurses and allied health professionals, and with recent shortages in staffing, we are more dedicated than ever to filling that need. Our long and storied history of providing Oklahoma schools with teachers is not simply in the past. Today, all six of our universities have strong education departments and provide the state with graduates who go on to become well-trained K-12 teachers.

The Regional University System of Oklahoma provides Higher Ed That Works and will continue serving our state successfully in striving to see Oklahoma's future workforce, families and communities thrive.
Open Enrollment Time
from Crystal Chavez, RUSO/OKHEEI Benefits Coordinator
Open enrollment period for RUSO institutions, other than the University of Central Oklahoma, will be October 20 - November 2.

RUSO Open Enrollment Information
Enrollment will be managed online through www.myokheeibenefits.com . This is the only time of the year that employees will be able to make changes to their benefits without a qualifying life event.
Changes for the 2022 benefit year:
  • Medical, Vision, Life & Disability – Great news! There will not be any benefit plan changes for the 2021 plan year! 
  • Dental – Delta Dental has added a preventative care benefit for enrollees at higher risk for cavities and/or periodontal disease. Additionally, a lifetime maximum benefit of $2,000 per dependent for orthodontia has been added.
  • Critical Illness, Hospital Indemnity & Accident – Voya will be taking over for Metlife in the administration of these policies.
  • Flexible Spending & Health Savings Account Administration – Flexible Benefit Administrators will be taking over from Chard Snyder.
 2022 provider information is as follows:
  • Medical - Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma (including a high-deductible plan with an HSA option)
  • Dental - Delta Dental of Oklahoma
  • Vision - VSP
  • Ancillary Benefits (LTD, Life Insurance, Dependent Life) - Voya
  • FSA and HSA – Flexible Benefit Administrators

There are multiple resources for more benefits information: 
1) Contact your institution's benefits coordinator 2) Visit thezerocard.com or rxngo.com  (for pharmacy only) 3) Call 855-816-0001 4) Visit the Information and Enrollment Portal.
UCO Open Enrollment Information
UCO's open enrollment was held October 4 through October 15th.
Changes for the 2022 benefit year:
  • Four plans will be available from Aetna.
  • Two plans within the broad network.
  • Two plans specifically with Integris and OU Children’s network.
  • CVS Caremark is administering the university’s pharmacy plans.
  • The UCO Benefits App was introduced with 24/7 care and communications available.
  • myHealth&Wealth, a Voya benefits decision making tool, was introduced to allow participants to make good choices with financial and benefit decisions.

2022 provider information is as follows:
  • Medical - Aetna
  • Dental – Aetna
  • Pharmacy- CVS Caremark
  • Vision - VSP
  • Voluntary Benefits (LTD, Life Insurance, Dependent Life) - The Hartford
  • FSA and HSA - Voya Financial
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RUSO drives economic development
Northeastern serving operations and supply chain industries in Oklahoma
Northeastern State University is expanding its educational offerings in Operations and Supply Chain Management to better prepare individuals to meet the ever-growing demand for well-trained and knowledgeable workers in the industry. As the Tulsa metro area becomes a hub of distribution there is a huge need for people trained in this industry. The new certificate program can be completed in about six months and the only requirement to enroll is a high school diploma. Learn more
Northwestern receives business partnership award
Aurora Learning Community Association, in partnership with Northwestern Oklahoma State University, has received the 2021 Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education Regents Business Partnership Excellence Award. This award is designed to highlight successful partnerships and to further cultivate a higher learning environment through the State Regents’ Economic Development Grants. Learn more
Student Spotlight
Sarah Stoffels, Southwestern Oklahoma State University
Southwestern Oklahoma State University student Sarah Stoffels of Anadarko has been named the 2021-22 academic year Glenn Wright Memorial Scholar. Stoffels is studying music education and after graduation intends to work with young people who are passionate about music. Each year the scholarship i granted to a SWOSU student who intends to pursue a career in band direction and is named for the late Glenn Wright (class of '49).
Melissa Long, University of Central Oklahoma
University of Central Oklahoma student Melissa Long, a senior accounting major from Oklahoma City, was recently named a Public Company Accounting Oversight Board Scholar. Long is a member of the recently formed UCO College of Business Student Advocacy Board. She will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in accounting in summer 2022. Learn more
Updates from RUSO
Oklahoma's best kept secret: Regional universities
Regional universities are the best kept secret of Oklahoma’s higher education system. Not only do they offer students a quality education, but they are remarkably affordable, close to home, and almost half of graduates have no student debt.

For a full-time student from Oklahoma enrolled at a regional university, the average annual total cost to attend is 46% less than at the University of Oklahoma or Oklahoma State University. The Regional University System of Oklahoma takes special care to keep fees low, not creating additional costs for students since many scholarships, including Oklahoma’s Promise, cover tuition and not fees. Read more

Chris Van Denhende Named RUSO Regent
Van Denhende of Tulsa was named a RUSO Regent this summer. A seasoned finance executive with over 35 years in various positions across multiple industries, including a focus on aviation, he has worked for Fortune 500 organizations including American Airlines, AVIS, and MCI. Van Denhende is currently the CFO/CSO of three M International companies: Mint Turbines, Southwest Fuel Systems and Keystone Turbine Services.

Van Denhende earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from East Central University and his MBA from Oklahoma City University. He is a Certified Public Accountant and serves on several boards including the East Central University Alumni Association and Will Rogers High School Community Foundation. Learn more
Alumni Success Stories
Choctaw Nation's Chief Batton finds community
at Southeastern Oklahoma State University
Growing up in Clayton, Oklahoma, a small town about 90 miles from Durant, Chief Gary Batton thought “only rich people – not people like me – go to college.” But once he arrived at Southeastern, he found a school that embraced people from different backgrounds who were seeking a variety of futures. There, he could really be himself. Learn more
Oklahoma's 2021 Teacher of the Year continues growth at East Central University
Jessica Eschbach was named Oklahoma’s 2021 Teacher of the Year by a panel of educators, legislators, and members of business and nonprofit organizations. Now she looks forward to continuing her service of bringing quality education, technology and collaboration to students and teachers across the state with a degree from East Central University. Learn more
Great Happenings at Your Regional University
Earlier this semester, ECU's Institute of Math and Science education offered continuing education opportunities to teachers working in STEM-related fields. Teachers attended workshops on STEM in Agriculture or Energy Investigation and were able to receive professional development credit. Learn more

For the second year in a row, fall enrollment has topped the 5,000 mark at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. The university's enrollment has increased by 37.7 percent over the past 10 years, marking the largest growth of any of the 25 public colleges/universities in Oklahoma during that time period.

This year Northeastern State University marked Constitution Day by hosting a virtual presentation examining Indigenous people’s influences on the U.S. Constitution. NSU holds the event annually. Attendees of this year's event heard from law professor and tribal judge Robert Miller.

1st Generation, an event celebrating first generation college students, will take place at Southwestern Oklahoma State University, on November 8. 39% of SWOSU's current student body have parents who did not attain a four-year degree. An essay contest is part of the planned celebration and students and faculty members can submit an essay for the chance to win scholarship funds, a gift card or a gift basket. Learn more

For the fall semester, the number of enrolled graduate students at Northwestern saw an increase of 14 percent. The number of concurrent students increased 20.6 percent over the previous semester. Learn more

The University of Central Oklahoma has earned a seven-year accreditation from the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration for its Master of Public Administration. The UCO MPA is a 36-credit hour program that is usually completed within two years of full-time study or completed part time.
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