Frequently Asked Questions

Application and Income

What grade does a student have to be in to apply for Oklahoma's Promise?

Students must be enrolled in the eighth, ninth or 10th grade to be eligible to apply for Oklahoma’s Promise (homeschool students must be age 13, 14 or 15; see the following question). Applications are dated by academic year (i.e., 2011-12 school year). Students completing the seventh grade in May must wait until the next school year application is available in August to apply. Students completing the 10th grade in May MUST apply before the June 30 application deadline.

What are the application requirements for a student who is homeschooled?

Students who are homeschooled must be age 13, 14 or 15 at the time of application (grade levels do not apply). A homeschool student may not apply after they turn 16 years old. The same income and residency requirements apply to all applicants.

What is the difference between parent and legal guardian?

For purposes of the Oklahoma’s Promise application, the legal guardian is not the parent but rather the guardian as appointed by a court of law. Temporary guardianship, power of attorney or a notarized statement by the parent do not qualify as legal guardianship. Legal guardians do not need to submit income information but rather a copy of the legal guardian paperwork issued by the court.

What are the application requirements for adopted children?

Special income provisions apply to students who have been adopted while in the permanent custody of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services or in the court-ordered custody of a licensed, private, nonprofit child-placing agency or federally recognized Indian tribe. For these adopted students, no income verification is required at the time of application in the eighth, ninth or 10th grade. However, documentation of the legal adoption is required. These adopted students will be subject to a second income limit at the time the student enters college. For students adopted between the ages of birth and 12, the second income limit will be $150,000. For students adopted between the ages of 13 and 17, the second income limit will be $200,000. Parents of adopted children who do not fall under this provision of the law are still subject to the $50,000 initial income limit and the $100,000 second income limit.

What income is counted toward the $50,000 limit?

The $50,000 family income limit applied at the time a student enrolls in Oklahoma’s Promise in the 8th, 9th or 10th grade is based on the total taxed and untaxed income of the student’s parents. Specifically, we first look at the "total income" on the federal income tax return for the most recent federal tax year, which is line 22 on the 1040 or line 15 on the 1040A. Then, we also count any income from untaxed sources like child support, public assistance and Social Security that is not included in the "total income" on the 1040 forms.

Special income provisions may apply to children adopted from certain court-ordered custody and children in the custody of court-appointed legal guardians, families receiving Social Security disability and death benefits, and families receiving nontaxable military benefits. See questions "What if our family income includes Social Security death or disability benefits?" or "What if our family income includes nontaxable military benefits?" below or contact the Oklahoma's Promise office for more information.

Whose income should be provided?

  • If the student's parents are currently married to each other (including parents not legally separated), include the income of both parents, regardless of who claimed the student for tax purposes.

  • If the student's parents are divorced, use the income of the primary custodial parent as specified in the divorce decree, regardless of whom the student lives with or who claimed the student for income tax purposes. If the custodial parent is remarried as of today, include the income of the custodial parent and the stepparent.

  • Parents must provide the income information requested on the application and submit a copy of pages one and two of the federal income tax return form (1040/1040A) filed for the most recent federal tax year. (IRS forms submitted to the State Regents are kept confidential and used only to verify Oklahoma’s Promise eligibility.)  Documentation of all untaxed income is also required.

Special income provisions apply to children adopted from certain court-ordered custody and children in the custody of a court-appointed legal guardian. See questions "What are the application requirements for adopted children?" or "What is the difference between parent and legal guardian?" above or contact the Oklahoma's Promise office for more information.

What if our family income includes Social Security death or disability benefits?

Beginning July 1, 2015, income from Social Security death and disability benefits will not disqualify a student from eligibility to apply for Oklahoma’s Promise. The income from these benefits must still be disclosed. Subject to the State Regents’ review, if the family income, excluding the Social Security death and disability benefits, does not exceed $50,000, the student will be eligible to enroll in the program. This provision applies only to Social Security death and disability benefits; it does not apply to Social Security retirement benefits.

What if our family income includes nontaxable military benefits?

Beginning July 1, 2015, income from nontaxable military benefits will not disqualify a student from eligibility to enroll in Oklahoma’s Promise. Subject to the State Regents’ review, if the family income, excluding these benefits, does not exceed $50,000, the student is eligible to enroll in the program. Examples of untaxed military cash benefits are Housing (BAH) and Subsistence (BAS-food allowance).

Is the income limit $50,000 or $100,000?

At the time the student applies for the Oklahoma's Promise program in the eighth, ninth or 10th grade, the total income of the student's parents from all taxed and untaxed sources still may not exceed $50,000 (see the questions for special provisions related to certain adopted children, children in the custody of a court-appointed legal guardian, families with income from Social Security death or disability benefits, and families with income from non-taxable military benefits).

All Oklahoma’s Promise students graduating high school in 2012 and thereafter will be subject to a second family income check at the time the student begins college. At this second income check, the federal adjusted gross income (AGI) of the student's parents (or the income of the student if the student is officially determined to be financially independent of their parents) may not exceed $100,000. Oklahoma's Promise high school seniors will be required to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which will be used to determine whether or not the federal adjusted gross income exceeds $100,000. (See also the question related to special provisions for certain adopted children.)

I’ve submitted an online application. Now what?

For an online application, all correspondence will be done by email. If you clicked “Submit,” you will have received an email confirmation immediately. Once you click Submit, you should see the signature page that you need to print and mail to the Oklahoma's Promise office with your income documentation. Once we have reviewed the documentation, you will receive an email confirming your student's enrollment into the program or requesting additional information. Some email providers send our automated emails to spam, so you may want to add okpromise@osrhe.edu to your address book.

I've submitted a paper application. Now what?

For a paper application, all correspondence will be done by regular postal mail. You should include all income documentation with your paper application and mail to the Oklahoma's Promise office. Once we have reviewed the application, you will receive a letter confirming your student's enrollment into the program or requesting additional information.