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October 27, 2004 :: Task Force Begins Work on Helping Hispanic Students Go to College

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A task force designed to monitor implementation of a new state law that allows certain children of illegal immigrants to pay in-state college tuition is ready to go to work.

Members of the newly formed Advancement of Hispanic Students in Higher Education Task Force met for the first time recently to discuss the group’s role as spelled out in House Bill 2145, the legislation that created the task force.

Under the bill, the task force will monitor the implementation and administration of Senate Bill 596 that was passed during the 2003 legislative session.

SB 596 directed the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education to adopt policies that would allow undocumented students to enroll in Oklahoma’s public colleges or universities and also pay in-state tuition.

The task force will also study, report and make recommendations on issues involving student recruitment and retention of and completion by Hispanic students in Oklahoma higher education.

The task force is comprised of the chancellor of the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education, or a designee; the state superintendent of public instruction, or a designee; and the executive director of the Oklahoma Commission for Teacher Preparation (OCTP), or a designee. In addition, the speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, the president pro tempore of the State Senate and the governor each appoint five members to the task force.

Those serving on the task force include Gloria Cardenas-Barton, Oklahoma City; David Castillo, Oklahoma City; Shirley Cox, Oklahoma City; Jim Gasso, Norman; Salvador G. Gonzalez, Lawton; J.P. Johnson, Oklahoma City; Sen. Debbe Leftwich, Oklahoma City; Rep. Al Lindley, Oklahoma City; Sara Martinez, Tulsa; Dr. Kathy McKean, Cushing; Maria Carlota Palacios, Tulsa; Tina Peña, Tulsa; Paul Rocha, Norman; Ruben Torres, Tulsa; and Constance “Kitty” Walker, Madill. Rep. Lindley will also serve as chairman of the task force.

Additional members of the task force are Armando Peña, OSRHE; Frank Rexach, State Department of Education; and Lois Lawler-Brown, OCTP.

Besides providing representatives to the task force, OSRHE, SDE and OCTP will also provide staffing support.

The task force will be dissolved July 1, 2009.