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Redlands Students participate in Oklahoma’s Promise Day at State Capitol

Eight Redlands students and their faculty and staff mentors attended the first ever Oklahoma’s Promise Day at the State Capitol. Students representing Redlands included, Keira Auld, Rush Springs; Sidney Carolina, Oklahoma City; Brittany Hammons, Guthrie; Ashley LaGasse, Piedmont; Dylan Olson, Mustang; Kody Silas, Tecumseh; Thomas Van Gundy, El Reno; Destiny Washington, Watonga.

"Having our students share their individual challenges and accomplishments with our legislators is extremely important," expressed President Jack Bryant. "Oklahoma's Promise is one of the most influential programs our state offers to our citizens, citizens who might not otherwise have the opportunities and successes they achieve utilizing these scholarships."

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.

Redlands Student Dylan Olson an Oklahoma’s Promise student from Mustang participated in the event at the Capitol. Olson said, “With the Oklahoma’s Promise, I was given an unbelievable opportunity to not only pursue a higher education but to be encouraged and supported every step of the way. Without Oklahoma Promise, I would not be anywhere close to where I am today.” Olson plans to continue his education at the University of Oklahoma and pursue a bachelors in Meteorology. Olson said, “Thanks to Oklahoma Promise, the sky is the limit, the possibilities are endless, and I have a future I never knew was possible.”

According to statistics from the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, the college-going rate of Oklahoma’s Promise students exceeds the state average for high school graduates—87 percent compared to 46 percent. They also have above-average full-time college enrollment, persistence and degree-completion rates. In addition, Oklahoma’s Promise college graduates get jobs and stay in Oklahoma after college at a higher rate than non-Oklahoma’s Promise graduates—87.1 percent compared to 85.7 percent.

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. The scholarship does not cover the cost of fees, books, or room and board.

“For more than 20 years, Oklahoma’s Promise has been a transformational program for the state of Oklahoma, helping more than 65,000 students achieve the dream of going to college,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “Oklahoma’s Promise continues to be recognized by many as one of America’s best college access programs, a model that combines emphases on academic preparation and financial support for college. We want to thank Governor Fallin and the members of the Legislature for their continued support of the Oklahoma’s Promise scholarship.”

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.

During the current academic year, about 18,300 students are expected to receive the scholarship in college. About 17,550 students are projected to receive the scholarship in 2015-16.

To be eligible for the scholarship at graduation, students must achieve a minimum 2.50 GPA in 17 core courses that prepare them for college and an overall GPA of 2.50 or better for all courses in grades nine through 12. While a minimum 2.50 GPA is required, on average, Oklahoma’s Promise graduates achieve a 3.41 high school GPA. Oklahoma’s Promise graduates also must attend class regularly and refrain from drug and alcohol abuse and delinquent acts.

In order to receive the scholarship in college, students must be U.S. citizens or lawfully present in the United States by the time they begin college. Students completing the Oklahoma’s Promise program continue to be successful academically, with high school GPAs that exceed the state average, ACT scores that exceed those of their comparable middle- and lower-income peers, and higher-than-average freshman college GPAs.

For more information about Oklahoma’s Promise, visit www.okpromise.org.