Although Oklahoma high schools have yet to crown their football champions this fall, some state championships have already been decided.
In a ceremony during their regularly scheduled meeting today, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education recognized one high school from each class as OHLAP “State Champions.” The schools were honored for having the most 2003 graduates in the Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program (OHLAP), the state scholarship program which provides free college tuition to high school students who meet certain eligibility requirements.
“Without the support of our middle schools and high schools across our great state, OHLAP would not be nearly as successful as it is now,” Chancellor Paul G. Risser said. “These OHLAP State Champions and runners-up have done a terrific job of providing students and their families with important information on OHLAP and how the program will benefit them in the years ahead.”
Enid High School took top honors in Class 6A with 50 OHLAP graduates. Mustang High School and Tahlequah High School finished as runners-up in Class 6A.
Other OHLAP State Champions recognized included Oklahoma City Southeast High School with 33 graduates, Class 5A; Broken Bow High School with 39 graduates, Class 4A; and Atoka High School with 23 graduates, Class 3A.
Cordell High School and Hollis High School tied for Class 2A honors with 21 OHLAP graduates each.
Rounding out the group are Class A Champ Timberlake High School with 17 OHLAP graduates and Class B Champ Stringtown High School with 9 graduates.
Besides Mustang and Tahlequah high schools, other runners-up were Grove High School, Class 5A; Oklahoma City Northeast Academy, Class 4A; Bethany High School and Fairview High School, Class 3A; Apache High School, Colbert High School and Vian High School, Class 2A; Tushka High School, Class A; and Agra High School, Buffalo High School, Deer Creek-Lamont High School, Drummond High School, Eagletown High School, Granite High School, Kremlin High School, Milburn High School and Moss High School, Class B.
“We are excited about how much the OHLAP program has grown over the last decade and what has turned out to be one the great success stories in Oklahoma,” State Regents Chairman Ike Glass said. “The thousands of students who are either enrolled in the program or who are currently enjoying an OHLAP scholarship have consistently performed above expectations. We applaud them for their dedication and diligence and the high schools they attend for their assistance in helping make OHLAP the successful program it has become.”
OHLAP, which was created by the Oklahoma Legislature in 1992, is designed to help middle and high school students from families earning $50,000 or less a year who have demonstrated a commitment to academic success. The scholarship is good for up to five years at any public college or university in the state. It will also cover a portion of the tuition at an accredited private institution or for select courses at career technology centers.
The high school graduating class of 1996 was the first to sign up for OHLAP scholarships, and since then, more than 37,000 students from some 450 different high schools representing all 77 counties have enrolled in the program. Students completing the program have earned OHLAP scholarships totaling more than $13.8 million. The scholarships are paid from funds provided by the Oklahoma Legislature.
To earn an OHLAP scholarship, students must sign up for the program in the eighth-, ninth- or 10th-grade, meet the family income requirement, attend classes regularly, complete homework assignments and maintain a minimum 2.5 (C+) grade point average in the 15 courses required for college admission plus two additional courses. In addition, students must refrain from drug abuse or delinquent acts.
The latest projections for OHLAP show that enrollment continues to increase each year, as do the costs of the program. Enrollment from last year’s 10th-grade class is approximately 7,500 students, an increase of about 450 students from the previous 10th-grade class. Higher education officials project scholarship expenses will increase by $7 million to $8 million for 2004-05. In addition, total enrollment is projected to rise to more than 9,000 students in three years, costing the state anywhere from $30 million to $44 million more a year, depending on enrollment, the number of completers and tuition rates.
The State Regents note that students enrolled in OHLAP tend to have above average high school grade point averages, ACT scores and college-going rates. In addition, OHLAP students have above average college persistence and degree completion rates.
For more information on OHLAP, please call 1.800.858.1840 or visit the OHLAP Web site at www.okpromise.org.