Bill allowing juniors to enroll in OHLAP passes Senate

Mike Seals - March 9, 2021 11:23 pm

OKLAHOMA CITY – Hundreds of Oklahoma students complete their college degree each year thanks to the financial assistance provided them through the Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program (OHLAP), a scholarship program that provides free tuition to state colleges and universities for certain qualifying students. Currently, students must be an Oklahoma resident, have a federally adjusted annual gross family income of $55,000 or less, and enroll in OHLAP in the 8th, 9th or 10th grade. Sen. David Bullard, R-Durant, wants to further expand the program by allowing homeschooled 16-year-olds or public and private school students to enroll as juniors, which he hopes to accomplish with Senate Bill 132 that passed unanimously out of the Senate late Tuesday.

“While some students know at a younger age that they want to go to college, for others it’s a decision made later in high school. OHLAP was created to ensure more students have the opportunity to get a college degree regardless of their financial situation, and Senate Bill 132 is an effort to help those students who decide to pursue a higher education their junior year,” Bullard said. “The program isn’t currently being fully utilized, so kids are missing out on this incredible scholarship opportunity, and we have to do all we can to make sure their dreams of getting a college degree come true. I’m grateful for the overwhelming support in the Senate, and I hope the House joins us in further helping Oklahoma’s students by expanding Oklahoma’s Promise.”

There are currently about 30,000 high school students enrolled in the program and around 15,000 students attending college on an OHLAP scholarship. Bullard believes that allowing students to join the program their junior year will help increase participation in the free tuition program.

The measure now goes to the House where Rep. Rhonda Baker, R-Yukon, is serving as the House author.

 

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