Thousands of additional Oklahoma eighth, ninth
and 10th grade students now have access to free college tuition
through the Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program (OHLAP), the
Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education announced recently.
During its last session, the Oklahoma Legislature, which created OHLAP in 1992, increased the gross annual family income limit for the program from $32,000 to $50,000. With this increase in the income guidelines, it is estimated that more than 3,400 additional students will become eligible for the scholarship this year.
"It is rewarding to see more students have the opportunity to achieve their educational goals by earning financial aid through OHLAP, and we encourage the thousands of Oklahomans who now qualify under the new income requirement to enroll in this program," said Chancellor Hans Brisch. "The OHLAP scholarship program opens the door to many students who otherwise would not have the financial means to attend college."
To date, more than 1,500 students from 322 different high schools representing all 77 counties have received OHLAP scholarships totaling $3.8 million. The scholarships are paid from funds provided by the Oklahoma Legislature.
The OHLAP scholarship is designed to help eighth, ninth and 10th grade students with financial need and academic promise to attend the state college or university of their choice. For students who fulfill the program requirements, the state will pay their full tuition at an Oklahoma public college or university, a portion of their tuition at a private institution or the cost of specific courses for college credit at an Oklahoma public career technology center. Students can use the scholarship through the completion of a bachelor's degree or a maximum of five years, as long as the student maintains good academic standing.
In addition to meeting the family income requirement, eligible students must attend classes regularly, complete homework assignments and attain at least a 2.5 (C+) grade point average in 17 specified courses. Students must also stay away from drugs and alcohol and refrain from delinquent acts.
"The OHLAP scholarship program enables hard-working students to fulfill educational and career goals by setting a course for college early in their high school careers," said State Regents Chairman Leonard J. Eaton Jr. "It also rewards students for their academic diligence while strengthening and supporting positive, responsible traits that are necessary to succeed in college and the workplace."
In an effort to increase awareness, OHLAP information and application packets with the new income guidelines were mailed last month to middle and high school counselors for distribution to Oklahoma students.
For more information on OHLAP visit a high school counselor or higher education's Student Center Web site at www.okhighered.org or call 800.858.1840.