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June 21, 2004 :: Time is Running Out to Sign Up for State Scholarship Program

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Students who just finished the eighth, ninth or 10th grade have until June 30 to sign up for a state scholarship program that is already helping thousands of Oklahoma students pay for their college educations. For those students just finishing 10th grade, this is their last opportunity to apply for the program.

The Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program (OHLAP) is a scholarship program that awards free college tuition to high school students from families whose annual income is no more than $50,000. The scholarship is good for up to five years to 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 technology centers.

“OHLAP is truly one of the most successful and talked-about state scholarship programs in the nation,” Chancellor Paul G. Risser said. “It has already helped many Oklahoma students fulfill their dreams of obtaining a college education. I urge eligible students and their parents to sign up for this program.”

The Oklahoma Legislature created OHLAP in 1992 as an incentive for middle and high school students who demonstrate a commitment to academic success.

During this spring’s legislative session, state lawmakers added another $4.1 million for the program to help pay for next year’s scholarship obligations. Another $4.1 million necessary to meet the OHLAP scholarship obligations for next year is expected from revenues dedicated specifically for OHLAP from the State-Tribal Gaming Act that will be subject to a statewide vote on the November ballot. If the act isn’t approved by voters, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education will request a supplemental appropriation from the Oklahoma Legislature in 2005.

To earn an OHLAP scholarship, students must sign up for the program in the eighth, ninth or 10th grade. They must attend class regularly, complete homework assignments, take the 17-unit curriculum and pass those courses with at least a 2.5 grade point average. They are required to achieve at least an overall 2.5 GPA in all courses in grades nine through 12. Students must also agree to stay out of serious trouble and avoid drugs and alcohol.

Since its inception, more than 43,000 students have enrolled in the program. An estimated 9,000 students will receive OHLAP scholarships this coming fall, and that number is expected to double by 2008.

For more information on OHLAP, please call 1-800-858-1840 or visit the Oklahoma higher education Web site at www.okhighered.org/ohlap.