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December 6, 2006 :: State Champions Recognized for Enrolling Students in State Scholarship Program

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Several Oklahoma high schools are celebrating state championships this fall, but not on the gridiron or the diamond.

At their most recent meeting, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education recognized high schools from each class as “State Champions” for having the most Oklahoma’s Promise-OHLAP graduates in 2006.

Oklahoma’s Promise-OHLAP (Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program) is the state scholarship program that allows high school students to earn free college tuition if they meet certain eligibility requirements.

“We are extremely pleased to honor these high schools for their success in helping students prepare for college,” Interim Chancellor Phil Moss said. “Oklahoma’s Promise-OHLAP has been an integral part of the state’s effort to produce more college graduates in Oklahoma. These state champion high schools are to be commended for their hard work and dedication in helping make Oklahoma’s Promise-OHLAP the successful program that it is today.”

Putnam City took top honors in Class 6A with 78 Oklahoma’s Promise-OHLAP graduates. Broken Arrow was a close second with 76 graduates.

Other high schools recognized as Oklahoma’s Promise-OHLAP State Champions were Oklahoma City’s Northwest Classen with 48 graduates, Class 5A; Oklahoma City’s Northeast Academy with 43 graduates, Class 4A; Henryetta with 28 graduates, Class 3A; Hinton with 19 graduates, Class 2A; and Pioneer – Pleasant Vale with 20 graduates, Class A. Granite and Medford high schools tied for first in Class B with 11 graduates each.

Besides Broken Arrow, other Oklahoma’s Promise-OHLAP runners-up were Durant, Class 5A; Locust Grove, Class 4A; Alva, Class 3A; Carnegie, Class 2A; Waurika, Class A; and Coyle, Class B.

Oklahoma’s Promise-OHLAP, was created by the Oklahoma Legislature in 1992 to reward middle and high school students from families earning $50,000 or less a year who have demonstrated a commitment to academic success. The scholarship is good until the student receives a bachelor’s degree or five years, whichever comes first, at any Oklahoma public college or university. It will also cover a portion of the tuition at an accredited private institution or for select courses at public technology centers.

The high school graduating class of 1996 was the first to sign up for the scholarships, and since then, more than 67,000 students from nearly 550 different high schools representing all 77 counties have enrolled in the program. Students completing the program have earned Oklahoma’s Promise-OHLAP scholarships totaling more than $67 million. The scholarships are paid from funds provided by the Oklahoma Legislature.

To earn an Oklahoma’s Promise-OHLAP scholarship, students must sign up for the program in the eighth, ninth or 10th grade, meet the family income requirement, attend classes regularly, complete homework assignments, achieve a minimum 2.5 (C+) grade point average in 17 core courses and earn at least a 2.5 GPA for all courses in grades nine through 12. In addition, students must refrain from drug and alcohol abuse and delinquent acts.

The latest projections for Oklahoma’s Promise-OHLAP show that enrollment continues to increase each year, as do the costs of the program. Enrollment from last year’s 10th-grade class is more than 9,400 students, a slight increase from the previous class.

Higher education officials project scholarship expenses could increase by $11 million to $48 million for 2007-08. In addition, total scholarship recipients are projected to increase from 15,000 in 2006-07 to 21,000 students by 2009-10, costing the state between $56 million and $69 million a year, depending on enrollment, the number of completers and tuition rates.

The State Regents note that students enrolled in Oklahoma’s Promise-OHLAP tend to have above-average high school grade point averages, ACT scores and college-going rates. In addition, Oklahoma’s Promise-OHLAP students have above-average college persistence and degree completion rates.

For more information on Oklahoma’s Promise-OHLAP, call 1.800.858.1840 or visit the Oklahoma’s Promise-OHLAP Web site at www.okpromise.org.