Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
-Nelson Mandela

Regent's Update 
by Susan Winchester, RUSO Chair
This fall, our students walked onto campus with just a little more wind at their back. The state budget appropriation for the Regional University System of Oklahoma increased by four percent for FY 2020.

Most of us who have been around for 10 years or more will immediately call to mind the year over year budget cuts. We've reduced our staff and faculty positions, consolidated programs and services and cut - over and over. So the news of a slight budget increase is simultaneously a point in time to take a breath, appreciate that our state is experiencing a time of more positive budget news, recognize this as an indication that our governor and legislators do indeed value higher education and at the same time, understand we need to push, advocate and continue to call for more resources for the nearly 40,000 students enrolled in our six public universities.

RUSO universities are still among lowest tuition in state, every cost increase may force some students to postpone, or forgo, their higher education. A lack of state funding shouldn't preclude any student from an opportunity to get a college degree. RUSO graduates experience upward social mobility that outperforms the national average by 38 percent. Our graduates are also far more likely to stay in Oklahoma - that drives our state's success in terms of business, economic development and a more educated workforce.

We ask that this increase be the first of many, and larger, investments in our state's colleges and universities. Every student deserves every opportunity to fulfill their dream of a college degree. We owe it to them and their families, our state and our future workforce.

Open Enrollment Time

Open enrollment period for RUSO institutions, other than the University of Central Oklahoma, will be October 25 - November 8. The open enrollment period for UCO will be
November 11 - 22.

RUSO Open Enrollment Information
Enrollment will again be managed online through TBX. 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 2020 benefit year:
  • Medical - A new high deductible plan, BCBS Plan F, will replace Plans D & E. This change simplifies the high deductible plan offering.
  • Dental - The Preventative Plan will see no changes. The Low and High plan offerings will see a change in deductible.
  • Ancillary - We have added a short term disability benefit through The Standard.
  2020 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) - MetLife
  • FSA and HSA - Chard Snyder
There are multiple resources for more benefits information: 
1)  Contact your institution's benefits coordinator 2) Visit  or (for pharmacy only) 3) Call 855-816-0001 4) Visit the Information and Enrollment Portal.

UCO Open Enrollment Information
UCO's open enrollment will be November 11 - 22. All enrollment will happen online through 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 2020 benefit year:
  • Five BCBS medical plans including a direct primary care option with Primary Health Partners
  • All medical plans will be offered in the Blue Preferred PPO network
  • Voya Financial will replace Chard Snyder as money account vendor
  • $250 deductible credit is available to covered employees and covered dependents 18 or older who receive a physical or well-woman exam by November 1, 2020
  • Oklahoma Heart Hospital will no longer be in the UCO-Zero Card network, but will remain in-network with BCBS
  • Each covered member will have an annual maximum Zero Card benefit of $50,000
  • A monthly tobacco surcharge will be applied for tobacco/e-cigarette users
2020 provider information is as follows:
  • Medical - Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma (including a high-deductible plan with HSA options)
  • Direct Primary Care - Primary Health Partners
  • Dental - Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma
  • Vision - VSP
  • Voluntary Benefits (LTD, Life Insurance, Dependent Life) - The Hartford
  • FSA and HSA - Voya Financial
For additional information regarding benefits and upcoming changes, visit .

Thank you to everyone who participated
in our recent employee survey!
  • 41% of respondents said they are interested in more information on legislation affecting RUSO.
  • 27% are interested to know what's happening at each of the regional universities.
We recommend following RUSO on social media, where we share higher ed news, university successes, legislative updates and more on our Facebook and Twitter.

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Updates from RUSO

RUSO Conducts National Search for SE President
The Regional University System of Oklahoma has appointed Bryon Clark, Ph.D., as interim president of Southeastern Oklahoma State University following the resignation of Sean Burrage who served as president since 2014. Clark was serving as Vice President for Academic Affairs for the university. The RUSO board of regents has formed a search committee for a new president and will begin a national search to fill the position.

Governor Appoints Eric Fisher as RUSO regent
Last spring, Gov. Kevin Stitt  appointed Eric Fisher, of Oklahoma City, to RUSO's governing board. Fisher fills the position 8 seat which covers Logan, Oklahoma, Cleveland, McClain, Garvin, Murray, and Payne counties. Fisher replaced Mark Stansberry, who retired from the regent board after serving nearly 20 years in higher education leadership positions, 13 as a RUSO regent. Fisher's appointment began May 13, 2019. Read his bio

Student Success Spotlight
Healthcare and Mentoring go Hand in Hand
Before becoming COO of The Children's Center Rehabilitation Hospital, Lori Boyd shadowed other departments in the hospital to increase her understanding of operations. "Shadowing various positions helped me to better understand the impact we have on the kids and see first hand how we can best serve their needs." While receiving her degree in healthcare administration from Southwestern Oklahoma State University, Boyd first learned the importance of creating connections with others to better make an impact. Now she encourages those she mentors to do the same.  Read more

To read more student success stories visit the RUSO website.
Great Happenings at Your Regional University
For inspiration and collaboration learn more about what is happening at regional universities.

The inaugural Ag-Fest was held at ECU this fall. Students, instructors and interested community members visited booths, watched demonstrations and engaged in discussion about our food and where it comes from.

NSU has been selected to join "Degrees When Due," a national initiative of the  Institute for Higher Education Policy. The program has the goal of assisting students with college credit to earn what they need to complete their degrees. NSU will receive training on best practices in degree reclamation and will provide targeted support while re-engaging students who have paused or dropped out of their studies.
Learn More
NWOSU's Alva campus is looking to expand their food pantry program to other Northwestern campuses. Since its inception in January, Campus Cabinet has distributed 879 pounds of food, hygiene products and bedding to students and staff in need.
Learn more
Southeastern is one of four universities in the U.S. chosen to partner with Southwest Airlines for the launch of their new career training program. Destination 225 ° will provide professional pilot majors with career training and flight experience as they transition into the workforce.
Learn More

More than 500 freshman recently participated in community service projects throughout Weatherford and across campus. SWOSU Serves is a service learning project designed to strengthen the relationship between campus and the surrounding area while also impacting students.

This year four UCO students competed in the Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru. UCO has been a Paralympic Training Site since 2005. For some events, the Lima games served as a qualifying match for the 2020 Paralympic Games.

Regional University 
System of Oklahoma
3555 N.W. 58th Street, Suite 320
Oklahoma City, OK 73112
405.942.8817 Phone
405.942.8847 Fax