JANUARY 18, 2006


Alliance increases college awareness in Oklahoma Panhandle

In conjunction with the Guymon Community Enrichment Foundation, Inc. (GCEF) and Guymon Public Schools, Oklahoma Panhandle State University recently received notification from the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education (OSRHE) of the funding of a $10,000 Community Based Organization Incentive grant. The one year project, “Raising College Aspirations in Texas County,” will increase student awareness of the importance of a college education, promote parental and student expectations by introducing them to the Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program (OHLAP), and inform families of additional scholarship and grant awards that enable students to continue their education following high school.

Students will be offered opportunities to visit businesses that employ degreed personnel and will also visit programs and classes on college campuses. A major goal of the grant is to increase enrollment in OHLAP. This OSHRE tuition assistance program is designed to help pay tuition for Oklahoma high school students who might not otherwise attend college after graduating high school. The program also requires students to pass particular high school courses and demonstrate good citizenship.

While the grant specifically names Guymon High School, parents in other Texas County schools will be invited to evening workshops, according to Teri Mora, director of OPSU’s Hispanic Services. Mora will serve as Director of the grant program and will work with university personnel, area businesses who employ college graduates and public schools to coordinate efforts. She hopes to encourage parents to believe that higher education is attainable for their children and will work to help them prepare those future college graduates. Currently, only 15% of students eligible for OHLAP in Guymon schools are enrolled, a number Mora hopes to increase.

Working together, GCEF, Guymon schools and OPSU can make a difference in the lives of Texas County students. Thanks to OHLAP and the progressive Oklahomans who comprise OSHRE, Oklahoma public school students can pursue a college education.

Contact: Laura Dahl, OPSU communications director, 580.349.1354