September 18, 2007 :: State Scholarship Program Modified by Legislature, Online Applications Encouraged
The Oklahoma Legislature has made several important modifications to Oklahoma’s Promise, one of Oklahoma’s most popular scholarship programs. Officials are working to inform students, parents and counselors about the changes and encouraging students to apply online.
Approximately half of Oklahoma’s students are eligible to apply for Oklahoma’s Promise, a scholarship that allows high school students from families whose annual income is $50,000 or less to earn free college tuition. To date, more than 75,000 students have enrolled in the program.
The scholarship program was formerly known as the Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program or OHLAP, and was created in 1992 by the Legislature to help more Oklahoma families send their children to college. Its goal is to prepare students academically for college and to provide them financial assistance.
“Oklahoma’s Promise has been a key component of our efforts to produce more college graduates in Oklahoma,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “Thousands of Oklahoma students can be positively impacted based on this promise: They promise to prepare for college, and the state of Oklahoma promises the opportunity to earn free college tuition.”
Currently, to be eligible for Oklahoma’s Promise, students must apply during the eighth, ninth or 10th grade, and their annual family income must not exceed $50,000 at the time of application. By the time they graduate high school, students must achieve a minimum 2.5 (C+) grade point average in 17 core courses that prepare them for college and also must achieve at least a 2.5 GPA for all courses in grades nine through 12. Students also must attend class regularly and refrain from drug and alcohol abuse and delinquent acts.
The Legislature approved a significant change to funding for Oklahoma’s Promise. Beginning in 2008-09, the scholarship program will have a permanent, dedicated funding source from the state’s general revenue fund. This means the program will be fully funded each year from a stable source of revenue.
“The permanent funding should assure Oklahoma families that this scholarship can be a dependable foundation of their children’s college plans,” Johnson said.
Other changes to the state scholarship program include:
- Second Income Limit Requirement: Beginning with Oklahoma’s Promise college students receiving the scholarship for the first time in 2009-10, families will be subject to a second income limit requirement. Students will not receive the scholarship if their families’ income exceeds $100,000 at the time the student goes to college.
- Minimum College GPA Requirement: Also effective for students receiving the award for the first time in 2009-10, a minimum college GPA of 2.0 will be required for courses taken during the sophomore year and a minimum 2.5 GPA for courses taken during the junior and senior years.
- Homeschool Student Eligibility: Homeschool students are now eligible for the scholarship. They must sign up while they are ages 13 to 15 and must achieve a 22 score on the ACT.
- College Conduct Requirement: Effective Jan. 1, 2008, an Oklahoma’s Promise college student that is suspended for more than one semester for conduct reasons will lose the scholarship permanently.
- Immigration Status: Beginning with students applying for the program in 2007-08, students must be U.S. citizens or lawfully present in the United States to receive the award in college. Undocumented immigrant students can still enroll in the program in the eighth, ninth, or 10th grade but must attain lawful status before they can actually receive the award.
The fastest and most secure way to apply for Oklahoma’s Promise is online at www.okpromise.org. Students can also get applications and fliers about the scholarship from school counselors. Oklahoma’s Promise officials have mailed more than 150,000 fliers to counselors statewide.
Students, parents and counselors can also get more information about Oklahoma’s Promise by visiting www.okpromise.org, by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (800) 858-1840.
Editors note: OHLAP (Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program) is now known as Oklahoma’s Promise.