Oklahoma's Promise is a scholarship program that pays tuition to the state's public colleges and universities for qualifying students in low to middle-income families. Originally started in 1996 and called the Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program, Oklahoma's Promise benefits tens of thousands of Oklahoma students each year. Here are some frequently asked questions on the program:
Who Can Qualify for Free College Tuition?
Only 8th, 9th and 10th-grade students who are Oklahoma residents can apply for Oklahoma's Promise, and the program is restricted to families with a total income of $55,000 or less at the time the student applies. For many years, the income limit was $50,000, but with legislation passed in 2017, that figure increased. It will increase again to $60,000 beginning with applicants in the 2021-2022 school year.
Total income includes that listed on the federal income tax return as well as income from un-taxed sources such as child support, public assistance, and Social Security. Though the income of the family can increase after application, it can not exceed $100,000 at the time the student begins college and prior to receiving the scholarship.
For home-schooled students, grade levels don't apply; instead, they must be 13, 14 or 15 at the time of application. In addition, Oklahoma's Promise recipients must take certain high school courses and make good grades.
What Are the Academic Requirements?
Oklahoma's Promise requires students to take 17 units of specific college-preparation courses in high school. The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education has a list online of courses to take. Students also must make a cumulative 2.5 GPA or better in those 17 units, as well as overall in high school.
Are There Any Other Requirements?
Yes, Oklahoma's Promise also has a behavioral component. Skipping school, abusing drugs or alcohol and committing a crime are all conduct issues that are forbidden. Once in college, the student must remain in good academic standing, maintain a minimum GPA (1.7 for first 30 credit hours; 2.0 as a sophomore; 2.5 as a junior and thereafter) and can't be suspended. For a full list of requirements and conditions, see okhighered.org/okpromise.
What Does Oklahoma's Promise Pay For?
Oklahoma's Promise pays the cost of ALL tuition for enrollment at a public Oklahoma college or university. It pays a portion of these costs for students that wish to attend a private school, as well as for courses at certain public technology centers. Be aware, though, that it does NOT cover books, supplies, room, and board or any other special fees.
How Do I Enroll in Oklahoma's Promise?
As noted above, enrollment must be done when the student is in 8th, 9th or 10th grade (aged 13-15 for home-schooled students). The deadline each year is typically at the end of June, and applications are available each year in August. Check online for a current application.
What If I Need More Information?
The above information is a general guide, and there are a number of special circumstances that could apply. For more details, contact the Oklahoma Regents for Higher Education by phone at (800) 858-1840 or email at email@example.com.