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January 26, 2012 - State Regents Celebrate 20 Years of Keeping Oklahoma’s Promise, Name High School Champs RSS feed

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Recognized by many as America’s best college access program and considered a model that combines emphasis on academic preparation and financial support for college, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education today celebrated 20 years of providing Oklahoma students the opportunity to earn college tuition scholarships through the Oklahoma’s Promise program.

Oklahoma’s Promise, created by the Legislature in 1992, allows students from families whose annual income is $50,000 or less to earn free college tuition. Its goal is to prepare students academically for college and to provide them financial assistance.

“Our state made a promise 20 years ago to qualified students and their families that the state of Oklahoma would pay for their college tuition if the student committed themselves in high school to making good grades, taking the required coursework and staying out of trouble. We have kept that promise,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “The first 20 years of the Oklahoma’s Promise program have exceeded the dreams and aspirations of those who helped shape it. We must now accept the challenge to continue keeping our promises to our students and their families.”

“Oklahoma’s Promise allowed me to pursue and follow any dream that I had,” said Jacqueline Smith, Oklahoma’s Promise recipient and 2000 Oklahoma State University graduate. “Without this program, I would not have been blessed to enjoy all that OSU had to offer, which in turn led me to a profession of teaching and being a part of the lives of so many amazing young adults in Oklahoma. My hope is that more students can experience the rewards and benefits of this program.”

“Oklahoma’s Promise meant the opportunity for me to further my education and has helped me in so many ways. I will forever be grateful that I had the privilege to be a part of such a great program,” said D’Andre Fisher, Oklahoma’s Promise recipient and 2011 University of Oklahoma graduate. “Oklahoma’s Promise has taught me to never give up on my dreams and that, with hard work, I am able to achieve any goals set in front of me.”

The State Regents also named seven Oklahoma high schools “Oklahoma’s Promise 2011 State Champions” for leading the state in the number of graduates who qualified to receive Oklahoma’s Promise.

“These high schools have done an exceptional job supporting Oklahoma’s Promise and promoting the program to their students,” said Johnson. “Oklahoma’s Promise helps thousands of students achieve the dream of a college education by encouraging more students to aspire to attend college and prepare themselves for academic success and by providing them with financial assistance.”

High schools named Oklahoma’s Promise 2011 State Champions are:

Class B

Class A

Class 2A

Class 3A

Class 4A

Class 5A

Class 6A

The scholarship pays tuition at any Oklahoma public college or university until the student completes a bachelor’s degree or for five years, whichever comes first. It will also cover a portion of tuition at an accredited Oklahoma private institution or for courses at public technology centers that are approved for credit toward an Associate in Applied Science degree at a public college. The scholarship does not cover the cost of fees, books, or room and board.

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. Beginning with college students receiving the scholarship for the first time in 2012, a student’s family income must also not exceed $100,000 at the time the student goes to college.

To receive the scholarship at graduation, students must achieve a minimum 2.5 (C+) GPA in 17 core courses that prepare them for college and an overall GPA of 2.5 or better for all courses in grades nine through 12. Oklahoma’s Promise graduates also must attend class regularly and refrain from drug and alcohol abuse and delinquent acts.

Students completing the Oklahoma’s Promise program continue to be successful academically, with high school GPAs that exceed the state average, ACT scores that exceed those of their comparable middle- and lower-income peers and higher-than-average freshman college GPAs. The college-going rate of Oklahoma’s Promise students exceeds the state average for high school graduates. They also have above-average full-time college enrollment, persistence rates and degree-completion rates.

In order to receive the scholarship in college, students must be U.S. citizens or lawfully present in the United States by the time they begin college.

Since 2007, more than 6,000 students in each high school graduating class have qualified for the scholarship, with the 2011 class at nearly 6,600.

During the current 2011-12 year, more than 20,000 students are expected to receive the scholarship at a cost of $61.3 million. For FY 2013, the State Regents approved a funding estimate for Oklahoma’s Promise of $63 million, when approximately 20,100 students are projected to receive the scholarship.

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

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Cutline: Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education Chancellor Glen D. Johnson recognizes the 20th anniversary of Oklahoma's Promise and the program's many supporters.