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Proposal would lower income cap for Oklahoma's Promise

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Photo of Representative Osborn, LeslieThis just came out of the state House of Representatives:

State Rep. Leslie Osborn said today that House Bill 1721 will help protect the state’s tuition assistance program for low-income families.

“The intent of my legislation is to redirect the tuition assistance to families who truly need it,” said Osborn, R-Mustang. “Oklahoma’s Promise, or the Oklahoma Higher Access to Learning Program, was originally created to help the children of poor, working families to qualify for tuition assistance. With several changes made to the program since its creation, it has grown into a program that could potentially make 81 percent of the families of four in the state eligible. This was not the original intent of the program.”

The program currently serves families that have a household income of $50,000 or less at the time of the student’s application to the program in the eighth, ninth or tenth grade and a household income of $100,000 or less when they enter college.

Osborn’s bill would lower the second income threshold to $75,000 and an amendment to the bill would further lower it to $60,000.

“We have to contain the program’s costs to ensure its long-term viability for those families it is intended to serve,” said Osborn. “Opponents may characterize the bill as breaking Oklahoma’s Promise, but I would characterize it as keeping our promise.”

Osborn noted that current enrollees in the program would not be affected.

“No one would lose what they’ve already attained under the current law,” she said. “That would be unfair.”

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Carrie Coppernoll

Carrie Coppernoll is a columnist and reporter. She was named the top personal columnist in Oklahoma in 2009 and 2010 by the Associated Press and Association of Newspaper Editors. She was also named the 2008 Journalist of the Year by the Oklahoma... Read more ›