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December 8, 2005 :: GEAR UP Incentive Grants Help Raise College Aspiration, Preparation

Media Contact: Amy Bruce
Office: 1.405.225.9281

Mentoring, tutoring, college campus tours, individualized counseling and academic planning represent just a few ways that community- and faith-based organizations across Oklahoma help students and families in their local areas prepare for college.

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. Fifteen organizations received grants, totaling $149,901, to expand programs and services that help raise college aspirations and encourage student participation in Oklahoma’s Promise – the Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program (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.

“While 2005 is the first official year of the CBO Incentive Grant program, we have high expectations for its success because of a pilot program administered last year that proved effective in increasing Oklahoma’s Promise-OHLAP participation and college aspirations among schools targeted by community and faith-based organizations,” said Chancellor Paul G. Risser.

For example, at three Oklahoma City high schools targeted by pilot grants last year, the number of 10th-grade student enrollments in Oklahoma’s Promise-OHLAP increased dramatically from 2003-2004 to 2004-2005. Capitol Hill increased from 23 to 89 enrollments; U.S. Grant increased from 49 to 100 enrollments; and Santa Fe South increased from 22 to 66 enrollments.

Also, districtwide Oklahoma’s Promise-OHLAP enrollments increased in markets targeted by the pilot grants from 2003-2004 to 2004-2005. Specifically, 10th-grade student enrollments in Oklahoma’s Promise-OHLAP in Oklahoma City schools increased from 465 to 661, an increase of 42 percent; and Tulsa Public Schools increased from 348 to 523, an increase of 50 percent. Both percentage increases in 10th-grade Oklahoma’s Promise-OHLAP enrollments were above the state average increase of 14 percent from 2003-2004 to 2004-2005.

The 2005-2006 grant recipients include: Boys and Girls Club of Tahlequah; Chickasha Boys and Girls Club; Community Service Council of Greater Tulsa; The Freedom Education Foundation; God’s Desire Daycare/Shiloh Baptist Church, Muskogee; Greater Oklahoma City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Guymon Community Enrichment Foundation; Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma, Perkins; Love Faith Hope Ministry, Midwest City; Metropolitan Tulsa Urban League; Pawhuska Chamber of Commerce; St. William’s Catholic Church, Durant, and St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Atoka; Timberlake Ministerial Alliance, Helena; Village/Britton/ North Highland College Bound Program, Oklahoma City; and Wesley United Methodist Church, Oklahoma City.

For more information on GEAR UP or Oklahoma’s Promise–OHLAP, visit or call 800.858.1840.

Download a list of funded program descriptions here. (PDF, 20K)