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December 1, 2005 :: High Schools Named ‘State Champions’ for Graduating Students in State Scholarship Program

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By winning state titles in football and other fall sports this year, high schools throughout Oklahoma have earned the right to be called “2005 State Champions.” But for several high schools, state titles haven’t just been won on the gridiron.

In a recent ceremony, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education recognized high schools from each class as “State Champions” for having the most Oklahoma’s Promise-OHLAP graduates in 2005.

Oklahoma’s Promise-OHLAP (Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program) is the state scholarship program that allows high school students to earn free college tuition if they meet certain eligibility requirements.

“These high schools have done an excellent job of helping to promote the Oklahoma’s Promise-OHLAP scholarship program to their students,” Chancellor Paul G. Risser said. “This worthwhile program is helping thousands of students achieve their dream of a college education and creating more college graduates in our state. We greatly appreciate these schools for their dedication and commitment to their students and to Oklahoma’s future.”

Muskogee took top honors in Class 6A with 61 Oklahoma’s Promise-OHLAP graduates. Broken Arrow was runner-up with 56 graduates.

Other high schools recognized as Oklahoma’s Promise-OHLAP State Champions were McAlester with 41 graduates, Class 5A; and Oklahoma City’s Northeast Academy with 40 graduates, Class 4A. Eufaula and Fairview tied for Class 3A honors with 27 graduates each.

For the second year in a row, Walters took Class 2A honors with 22 Oklahoma’s Promise-OHLAP graduates. Depew was tops in Class A with 16 graduates, while Buffalo was named Class B champion with 19 graduates.

Besides Broken Arrow, other Oklahoma’s Promise-OHLAP runners-up were Chickasha, Class 5A; Stilwell, Class 4A; Antlers and Atoka (tie), Class 3A; Cordell and Vanoss (tie), Class 2A; Thomas and Tipton (tie), Class A; and Coyle, Class B.

Oklahoma’s Promise-OHLAP, was created by the Oklahoma Legislature in 1992 to reward 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 Oklahoma public college or university. It will also cover a portion of the tuition at an accredited private institution or for select courses at public technology centers.

The high school graduating class of 1996 was the first to sign up for the scholarships, and since then, more than 57,000 students from nearly 550 different high schools representing all 77 counties have enrolled in the program. Students completing the program have earned Oklahoma’s Promise-OHLAP scholarships totaling more than $41 million. The scholarships are paid from funds provided by the Oklahoma Legislature.

To earn an Oklahoma’s Promise-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, achieve a minimum 2.5 (C+) grade point average in 17 core courses and earn at least a 2.5 GPA for all courses in ninth through 12th grade. In addition, students must refrain from drug and alcohol abuse and delinquent acts.

The latest projections for Oklahoma’s Promise-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 more than 9,200 students, an increase of about 1,100 students from the previous 10th-grade class.

Higher education officials project scholarship expenses could increase by more than $10 million to $37 million for 2006-07. In addition, total scholarship recipients are projected to rise to almost 18,000 students by 2008-09, costing the state anywhere from $44 million to $59 million a year, depending on enrollment, the number of completers and tuition rates.

The State Regents note that students enrolled in Oklahoma’s Promise-OHLAP tend to have above-average high school grade point averages, ACT scores and college-going rates. In addition, Oklahoma’s Promise-OHLAP students have above-average college persistence and degree completion rates.

For more information on Oklahoma’s Promise-OHLAP, call 1.800.858.1840 or visit the Oklahoma’s Promise-OHLAP Web site at www.okpromise.org.