February 3, 2004 :: OHLAP Powers the Dreams of Oklahoma’s Working Families
A state scholarship program aimed at Oklahoma’s working families is fulfilling the dreams of hundreds of Oklahoma students.
The Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program (OHLAP) provides opportunities for first-generation college students to attend college and boost their earning potential over their lifetimes.
Oklahoma lawmakers created the scholarship program in 1992, which is designed to help middle and high school students from families earning $50,000 or less a year who have demonstrated a commitment to academic success. It enables the students to earn free tuition for college or specified courses at career technology centers.
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.
The success of the program has been impressive:
- To date, nearly 39,000 students from more than 450 high schools in all 77 counties have enrolled in OHLAP.
- Last year, 71 percent of the seniors who had enrolled in OHLAP completed the requirements.
- OHLAP students tend to have higher grade point averages and ACT scores, perform better in college and complete their degrees at a higher rate than non-OHLAP students.
Because of increased enrollment in OHLAP, the costs for the program will continue to rise from this year’s $11 million appropriation. An increase of approximately $8.2 million will be needed in the next budget year, and even higher increases are projected in the coming years.
To earn an OHLAP scholarship, students, who sign up for the program in the eighth-, ninth- or 10th-grade and meet the family income requirement, must attend classes regularly, complete homework assignments and maintain a minimum 2.5 (C+) GPA in the 15 courses required for college admission plus two additional courses. Additionally, students must stay away from drugs and alcohol and refrain from delinquent acts.
For students who fulfill the requirements, the state will pay their tuition at a public college or university or cover a portion of their tuition at a private institution or for select courses accepted for college credit from public career technology centers.
Applications for the OHLAP scholarship are available from high school counselors, on Oklahoma higher education’s Web site at www.okhighered.org or by calling toll-free 800.858.1840.