House of Representatives

Culver Celebrates Passage of ARPA Optometry Funding Bill


6/15/2022 2:55:00 PM

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Bob Ed Culver, R-Tahlequah, today celebrated passage of a bill he carried in the House regarding ARPA funding for the Northeastern State University School of Optometry.

Senate Bill 8 in the second extraordinary session of the 58th Legislature appropriates $15 million to complete the new NSU School of Optometry. These funds are coupled with $18 million that the university has already raised.

"The NSU School of Optometry is one of the crown jewels of our state," Culver said. "The work that they do training future optometrists is felt across the world, and this funding will help them continue that important work far into the future. The campus also happens to be located in the most beautiful area of our state, my home town of Tahlequah. I'm proud of the work they are doing, and I'm proud I was able to carry this important piece of legislation in the House."

One of only 23 optometric training schools in the nation, the Oklahoma College of Optometry at NSU prides itself on developing world-class optometrists with practical experience both in and out of the classroom, as well as post-graduate clinical residency certification and continuing optometric education. Through their partnership with the Cherokee Nation and other area entities, their students, residents and faculty experience more than 40,000 patient encounters each year.

This project was recommended by the Joint Committee on Pandemic Relief Funding which was tasked with supporting the state planning of distributing nearly $1.9 billion in pandemic relief funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. ARPA funds must be allocated to specific projects by December 2024 and expended by December 2026.

SB 8 will now go to the governor's desk for his consideration.

More information about ARPA can be found here: https://oklahoma.gov/arpa.html