Community- and faith-based organizations across Oklahoma are helping students and families prepare for college through programs that provide access to financial aid, localized mentoring, tutoring, college campus tours, individualized counseling and academic planning.
Oklahoma GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) a federally funded program administered by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, is helping expand such efforts through the Raising College Aspirations Community- Based Organization (CBO) Incentive Grant Program. Eight organizations received grants, totaling $119,981, to expand programs and services that help raise college aspirations and encourage student participation in Oklahoma’s Promise-OHLAP.
Oklahoma’s Promise-OHLAP is a scholarship program that allows high school students from families whose annual income is $50,000 or less and who meet certain academic and conduct requirements to earn free college tuition.
"The CBO Incentive Grant Program was implemented after a 2004 pilot test revealed a solid link between college preparation levels and student involvement with community- and faith-based organizations,” said Interim Chancellor Phil Moss. “In 2005-2006, 15 organizations received grants to promote college preparation levels and, like the results from the pilot project, succeeded in inspiring more students to prepare for and attend college.”
For example, at three Oklahoma City high schools targeted by CBO grants last year, Capitol Hill High School, U.S. Grant High School, and Southeast High School, the number of enrollments in Oklahoma’s Promise-OHLAP increased by 74 percent, or 229 students, from January to June 2006, compared to 132 enrollments for five other Oklahoma City metropolitan schools during the same time frame.
Eleven other grant recipients also achieved success with their localized programs last year, but at a more modest level. For example, in many Tulsa-area schools targeted by CBO grants, Oklahoma’s Promise-OHLAP enrollment levels remain near or below 10 percent for eligible students. This year, GEAR UP has targeted these schools with more focused CBO grant activities and expects to achieve a greater increase in Oklahoma’s Promise-OHLAP enrollments.
"We are proud of all our CBO grantees and the work they are doing. We know that when community- and faith-based organizations make an effort to help students prepare for college, we are on the road to great success,” said State Regents Chairman John Massey.
The 2006-2007 CBO grant recipients include: Community Action Project of Tulsa County; Community Service Council of Greater Tulsa; God’s Desire Daycare/Shiloh Baptist Church, Muskogee; Greater Oklahoma City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Guymon Community Enrichment Foundation; Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club of Lawton; Stigler Chamber of Commerce; and Urban League of Greater Oklahoma City.
For more information on GEAR UP or Oklahoma’s Promise-OHLAP, visit www.okhighered.org or call 800.858.1840.
For more information on GEAR UP, visit www.okhighered.org/gearup or call 800.858.1840.
View list of funded program descriptions here.