Oklahoma Higher Education Campus E-Clips sponsored by the Communicators Council

November-December 2017

Tulsa Achieves: A Decade of Providing a College Path For More Than 17,000 Students

Tulsa Community College campus.

Tulsa Community College celebrated 10 years of Tulsa Achieves. Created in 2007, Tulsa Achieves has provided a path to college for 17,722 students living in Tulsa County. It is a gap funded program that covers tuition and fees after federal student aid is exhausted for eligible for high school seniors who live in Tulsa County.

Tulsa Community College’s Tulsa Achieves has provided a path to college for 17,722 students in the past 10 years including Tracey Medina Morales. As a first-generation college student, she credits Tulsa Achieves as the reason she attended college.

“Tulsa Achieves not only started the conversation about my education after high school, it also removed financial barriers for me and my family,” said Morales, who has an associate degree from TCC, a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oklahoma and is now completing her master’s degree in human relations.

Created in 2007, Tulsa Achieves is a gap funded program that covers tuition and fees after federal student aid is exhausted for eligible for high school seniors who live in Tulsa County. Students can attend college for three years or earn up to 63 credit hours, whichever comes first.

“Single-handedly, Tulsa Achieves has created a better future for Morales and thousands of other students. Plus, it has provided a college-educated workforce for the Tulsa area,” said TCC President and CEO Leigh B. Goodson, Ph.D.

The fall 2017 semester, with an estimated 1,875 students, marks the largest incoming Tulsa Achieves freshman class since it was created a decade ago. Altogether, there are 3,400 Tulsa Achieves students on campus during the fall semester pursuing a degree. Tulsa Achieves students are required to perform 40 hours of community service per academic year. In 10 years, they have volunteered more than 580,000 service hours with an estimated value of $10 million to Tulsa-area organizations such as the Oklahoma Aquarium, Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma, Oklahoma Blood Institute Tulsa, Animal Rescue Foundation, Reading Partners and St. John Auxiliary.

Tulsa Achieves serves as a nationwide model for creating access to higher education and in the last decade many communities and states across the U.S. have created and adopted similar plans. In addition, Tulsa Achieves students achieve at a higher rate than their peers.

“In a snapshot of student success, our data shows Tulsa Achieves students enter TCC with a higher average ACT score now than in 2007,” said Goodson. “Plus, Tulsa Achieves students have a higher college ACT score, a higher GPA and higher grades in traditional “gateway” courses for college success such as Composition I, Biology and Intro to Sociology than non-Tulsa Achieves students.”

Tulsa Achieves students persist to the spring semester and the following fall semester at a higher rate than other students. Most importantly, Tulsa Achieves students are more likely than other students to graduate with an associate degree or transfer to a four-year college or university. The National Student Clearinghouse can track students when they leave TCC, and data shows more than 120 Tulsa Achieves students, since starting college at TCC, have earned a master’s degree or higher.

“Creating Tulsa Achieves was a leap of faith by leaders who believed in the ultimate strength of an educated community. It has shaped our community and changed the legacy of Tulsa and the students who benefited,” said Goodson.

Campus E-Clips is published by the Communicators Council, an advisory group to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education comprised of Oklahoma higher education public information officers. All stories are submitted to a review panel of council members for editing and selection. To submit a story, please contact the participating council member from your institution. Stories must meet newsletter submission guidelines. Click here to view the Guidelines. For additional information, email newsletter@osrhe.edu. Site hosted by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. Disclaimer