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December 17, 2008 :: Eight Oklahoma High Schools Named Scholarship Champs

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The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education recently named eight Oklahoma high schools “Oklahoma’s Promise 2008 State Champions” for leading the state in the number of graduates earning a state scholarship that offers free college tuition.

The top schools were recognized within each class for having the most graduates who qualified for Oklahoma’s Promise, a state scholarship that allows students from families whose annual income is $50,000 or less to earn free college tuition.

“These high schools have done an excellent job of supporting and promoting the Oklahoma’s Promise scholarship program to their students,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “This program helps thousands of students achieve the dream of a college education. These high schools are to be commended for their hard work and dedication to students and to Oklahoma’s future.”

High schools named Oklahoma’s Promise 2008 State Champions are:

Class B

Class A

Class 2A

Class 3A

Class 4A

Class 5A

Class 6A

Oklahoma’s Promise was created in 1992 by the Legislature to help more Oklahoma families send their children to college. Its goal is to prepare students academically for college and to provide them financial assistance. The scholarship pays tuition at any Oklahoma public college or university and is good until the student receives a bachelor’s degree or for five years, whichever comes first. It will also cover a portion of tuition at an accredited private institution or for select courses at public technology centers.

To be eligible for Oklahoma’s Promise, students must apply during the eighth, ninth or 10th grade, and their family’s annual income must not exceed $50,000 when they apply. To receive the scholarship at graduation, students must achieve a minimum 2.5 (C+) grade point average in 17 core courses that prepare them for college and an overall GPA of 2.5 or better for grades nine through 12. Oklahoma’s Promise graduates also must attend class regularly and refrain from drug and alcohol abuse and delinquent acts.

In order to receive the scholarship in college, students participating in the program must be U.S. citizens or lawfully present in the United States by the time they begin college. Beginning with college students receiving the scholarship for the first time in 2010, a student’s family income must not exceed $100,000 at the time the student goes to college.

Since 2004, close to 10,000 students from each 10th-grade class have enrolled in the program.

In 2008, the State Regents launched a three-year campaign aimed at increasing enrollment in and awareness of Oklahoma’s Promise. Television, radio and print ads ran for approximately seven weeks in May and June. The ads targeted parents and stressed enrolling their students in Oklahoma’s Promise before the June 30 deadline. The campaign produced a 59 percent increase in phone calls and 144 percent increase in online applications compared to the same time in 2007.

The State Regents have approved a funding estimate of $54 million for FY 2010. In 2007, the Legislature approved a permanent, dedicated funding source for Oklahoma’s Promise from the state’s general revenue fund. This change ensures the program will be fully funded each year from a stable source of revenue.

The 2008 Legislature created a task force on Oklahoma’s Promise to review the program’s income limits and the requirements for maintaining eligibility for the award in college. In its final report, the task force recommended adjusting the program’s income limit for family size and inflation; delaying the second income limit until 2012; basing the college award-retention requirements on institution academic standards; and asking the Legislature to examine the feasibility of a post-college residency requirement for students who receive the Oklahoma’s Promise award.

For more information about Oklahoma’s Promise or to apply online, visit www.okpromise.org. Information is also available by e-mailing okpromise@osrhe.edu or by calling (800) 858-1840.