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August 30, 2016 - Oklahoma’s Promise Featured During National Best Practices Meeting

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Higher education leaders and policymakers representing Oklahoma, Arizona, Connecticut, Iowa, Minnesota, New Jersey and New York recently came together to discuss state policy strategies and best practice financial aid models that increase higher education degree completion.

The Strategy Labs Peer Learning Opportunity meeting, hosted at Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City by Oklahoma Secretary of Education and Workforce Development and OSU-OKC President Natalie Shirley, was supported by HCM Strategists’ Strategy Labs and the Lumina Foundation. The Oklahoma’s Promise scholarship program was a featured topic during the meeting.

“In the current budget climate, statewide financial aid programs with targeted commitments are ideal,” said Jimmy Clarke, Senior Director of State Policy for HCM Strategists and director of the Lumina Foundation’s Strategy Labs. “Oklahoma’s Promise is an exemplar given its sustained effectiveness at increasing college enrollment and completion among low-income students.”

Oklahoma higher education Chancellor Glen D. Johnson and members of the State Regents’ staff led discussion regarding the history of Oklahoma’s Promise, key components of the scholarship, program administration and communication strategies for sustainability.

“We are so pleased to be a part of this worthwhile effort,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “This forum created a unique opportunity to highlight the continuing success of the Oklahoma’s Promise scholarship program, a transformational model that combines emphases on academic preparation and financial support for college. More than 70,000 Oklahoma students have received the scholarship since the program’s inception.”

The Oklahoma’s Promise scholarship program is nationally recognized as one of the country’s best college access programs. Formerly known as the Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program (OHLAP), Oklahoma’s Promise was created in 1992 by the state Legislature to help more Oklahoma families send their children to college.

“By 2025, it is estimated 64 percent of Oklahoma jobs will require either a two or four-year degree,” said Secretary Shirley. “At our current pace, we are not on track to have the graduates to meet that demand. Oklahoma’s Promise provides a financial pathway for Oklahomans to become college graduates and thus help the state meet its workforce needs.”

Oklahoma’s Promise pays tuition at any Oklahoma public college or university 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 Oklahoma private institution, but does not cover the cost of fees, books, or room and board.

To be eligible, students must apply during the eighth, ninth or 10th grade, and their family’s annual income must not exceed $50,000 when they apply. A student’s family income also must not exceed $100,000 at the time the student goes to college.