Posted Date: 03/05/2021
For nine consecutive years, Union Public Schools has been recognized by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education as the Oklahoma’s Promise 2020 State 6A Champion for having 167 seniors from the class of 2020 qualify for the Oklahoma’s Promise Scholarship.
Oklahoma’s Promise, also known as the Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program (OHLAP), is state funded. It allows students, from families whose annual income is $50,000 or less, to earn a scholarship to an Oklahoma public college or university or it can be used to pay for a portion of tuition at eligible private colleges in Oklahoma.
“2020 was a difficult year so we are especially pleased, once again, that Union High School has been named the 6A Oklahoma’s Promise Champion,” said John Federline, executive director of Secondary Education. “This is the ninth year in a row we have won this award and we are so thankful for the hard work of our administrators, counselors, and teachers who ensure that high numbers of students are encouraged to sign up for this incredible scholarship program.”
In 2019, 164 seniors qualified for scholarships, 154 in 2018, 152 in 2017, 129 in 2016, 158 in 2015, 174 in 2014, 166 in 2013, and 128 in 2012.
Beginning in the eighth grade, Union’s academic counselors work with families and begin signing students up for eligibility in the Oklahoma’s Promise program. Counseling teams continue to support students throughout high school monitoring student enrollment, student grade point averages, and cheering on each student. As Union students enter their senior year, the academic counselors collaborate with College and Career counselors to ensure that every student eligible has his or her paperwork completed and sent to the regents.
Overall, seven schools – including Union - were named champions statewide. The schools lead the state in the number of graduates who met the requirements to receive a scholarship through Oklahoma’s Promise.
“These seven Oklahoma high schools are to be commended for serving as champions for their students,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “The State Regents and I applaud their efforts. Since 1996, more than 95,000 Oklahoma students have taken advantage of the opportunity to pursue their college education through earning the Oklahoma’s Promise scholarship.”
Recognized as one of the top college promise scholarship programs in the nation, Oklahoma’s Promise was created in 1992 by the Legislature to help more Oklahoma families send their children to college. The scholarship pays tuition at any Oklahoma public college or university until the student receives a bachelor’s degree or for up to five years, whichever comes first. It will also cover a portion of tuition at an accredited Oklahoma private institution or public career technology center. The scholarship does not cover the cost of fees, books, or room and board.
To be eligible for Oklahoma’s Promise, students must apply during the eighth, ninth or 10th grade, and their family’s annual income must not exceed $55,000 when they apply. A student’s family income also must not exceed $100,000 each year the student is enrolled college.
To receive 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. Oklahoma’s Promise graduates also must attend class regularly and refrain from drug and alcohol abuse and delinquent acts.
Students completing the Oklahoma’s Promise program continue to be successful academically, with high school GPAs (3.45 average GPA) that exceed the state average and ACT scores that exceed those of their comparable middle- and lower-income peers. The college-going rate of Oklahoma’s Promise students exceeds the state average for high school graduates. 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.
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. For the high school graduating class of 2019, approximately 6,000 students met the program requirements to be eligible for the scholarship. During the current 2019-20 year, about 16,000 students are expected to receive the scholarship in college.
Since 1996, when the first students in the program entered college, more than 90,000 students have earned the Oklahoma’s Promise scholarship. By law, the program has a dedicated funding source that helps ensure that the program is fully funded each year.
Just amazing, 167 students! This takes a lot of work from the students, their families and the Union admin, what a great "championship" to earn! https://t.co/r0ENsCinTz— Stacey Roemerman (@StaceyRman) March 5, 2021