Students, faculty, representatives from Oklahoma’s public colleges and universities, and other supporters gathered at the state Capitol Wednesday to show appreciation for the Governor, Legislature and state Board of Equalization’s ongoing support of the Oklahoma’s Promise scholarship program and to encourage legislators to continue to fund the program.
To kick-off the event, Mike Jackson, Executive Director, Legislative Office of Fiscal Transparency and Jeff Peters, Chief of Staff, Oklahoma State Senate spoke to Oklahoma’s Promise students about the significant positive impact of the scholarship in their lives.
Oklahoma’s Promise was created in 1992 by the state Legislature to help more Oklahoma families send their children to college.
“Since 1992, more than 100,000 qualified Oklahoma students have earned the opportunity to pursue higher education through the Oklahoma’s Promise scholarship program,” said Chancellor Allison D. Garrett. “These are students who committed to take rigorous academic course work and earn good grades. In return, they were promised a scholarship to pay their college tuition. Thanks to Governor Stitt and our legislators’ continued support of the Oklahoma’s Promise scholarship, we’re keeping that promise.”
Nationally recognized as one of the country’s best college access programs, Oklahoma’s Promise is a transformational model that combines emphases on academic preparation and financial support for college. The scholarship program pays tuition at any Oklahoma public college or university until the student receives a bachelor’s degree or for five years, whichever comes first. It will also cover a portion of tuition at an accredited Oklahoma private institution or for certain public career technology programs. The scholarship does not cover the cost of fees, books, or room and board.
To be eligible, students must apply during the eighth, ninth, tenth or 11th grade, and their family’s annual income must not exceed $60,000 when they apply. A student’s family income also must not exceed $100,000 each year the student is enrolled in college.
During the current academic year, approximately 14,000 students are expected to receive the scholarship in college. Approximately 14,000 students are also projected to receive the scholarship next year.
To be eligible for the scholarship at graduation, students must achieve a minimum 2.50 GPA in 17 core courses that prepare them for college and an overall GPA of 2.50 or better for all courses in grades nine through 12. While a minimum 2.50 GPA is required, Oklahoma’s Promise graduates achieve an average high school GPA of 3.47. Oklahoma’s Promise graduates also must attend class regularly and refrain from drug and alcohol abuse and delinquent acts.
Students completing the Oklahoma’s Promise program continue to be successful academically, with high school GPAs that exceed the state average, ACT scores that exceed those of their comparable middle- and lower-income peers, and higher-than-average freshman college GPAs.
The college-going rate of Oklahoma’s Promise students exceeds the state average for high school graduates. They also have above-average full-time college enrollment, persistence and degree-completion rates. In addition, Oklahoma’s Promise college graduates get jobs and stay in Oklahoma after college at a higher rate than non-Oklahoma’s Promise graduates.
For the high school graduating class of 2021, over 6,300 students met the program requirements to earn the scholarship.
By law, the program has a dedicated funding source that helps ensure the program is fully funded each year.