Senator Mike Morgan
president Pro Tempore
Senate District 21
Payne, Logan and Lincoln Counties
For Immediate Release:
December 2, 2005
President Pro Tem Mike Morgan
Senate Leaders Vow Full-Funding For OHLAP Scholarship Program
Senate President Pro Tempore Mike
Morgan and other Senate leaders pledged once again Friday to
fully fund the Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program and said
the state should build on OHLAP’s success by creating other
programs that put a premium on personal responsibility.
“No qualifying student has ever been turned down for an OHLAP
scholarship and no qualified student ever will be,” said Morgan,
D-Stillwater. “My commitment and the commitment of Senate
Leadership to this vital program have been unwavering from its inception
and we remain committed to expanding the opportunity for higher
education to even more Oklahoma students.”
OHLAP provides tuition scholarships for students who maintain a
minimum grade point average, complete a college preparatory curriculum
in high school and whose annual family income is below $50,000.
“The truth is we need more programs like OHLAP – programs
that place a premium on personal responsibility. These students
make a pact with the state to make good grades and stay out of trouble.
When they meet their responsibilities, the state is going to meet
its responsibility to them,” Morgan said.
In vowing to ensure that OHLAP is fully funded, Morgan was joined
Senate Appropriations Chairman Johnnie Crutchfield and Senator Stratton
Taylor, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education.
“We can’t afford not to fund this program. We have to
do all we can to increase the number of college graduates in Oklahoma
and offering a college education to more qualifying high school
graduates is the best way to accomplish that,” said Taylor,
Crutchfield, D-Ardmore, agreed.
“This program has been a tremendous success. The number of
students from working families who are taking part in the program
– both those students in college now and those who are still
in high school who have already signed up – is growing every
single year. We are committed to making sure funds are there to
pay the tuition for every qualifying student,” the Appropriations
More than 57,000 students from nearly 550 different high schools
representing all 77 counties have enrolled in OHLAP since its inception
in 1992. That total includes more than 48,000 students who have
enrolled since 2000, the year state lawmakers raised the scholarship’s
family income limit from $32,000 to $50,000. Last year, more than
9,200 10th graders enrolled in the program, an increase of about
1,100 students from the previous year.
Growing participation means costs will grow. Expenses could increase
by more than $10 million to $37 million for 2006-07. In addition,
the number of scholarship recipients is projected to rise to almost
18,000 students by 2008-09, costing the state anywhere from $44
million to $59 million a year, depending on enrollment, the number
of completers and tuition rates.
“That’s dramatically more than the $1 million the program
cost in its first year, but we are committed to funding it. We don’t
see it as an expense. It’s an investment and investing in
a college education for more of our state’s students will
pay tremendous dividends for Oklahoma. This program is a fundamental
part of making tomorrow better for our children and we intend to
see that it is fully funded,” Crutchfield said.
Some have called for a single dedicated funding source for OHLAP,
but such a move could actually restrict the program by limiting
available scholarships to the amount of revenue from the dedicated
“We don’t have many individual funding sources growing
at the rate of the OHLAP program. What happens if the funding source
produces just $50 million and the need does grow to $59 million?”
Morgan asked. “Are those who want to dedicate a single source
of revenue to OHLAP going to tell qualifying students that they’re
out of luck?
“This program is so vital that it requires the Legislature
step put to the plate each and every session to make sure it’s
State law does currently sets aside a portion of gaming revenue
as an additional source of funding for OHLAP, but gaming revenue
was never intended as the sole source of paying for those scholarships,
“There are a variety of funding sources we can tap to make
sure this program
is fully funded and we will do what is necessary to make sure that
no qualifying student is left behind,” Taylor said.
Recent history should serve as an example of the Legislature’s
commitment to the OHLAP program, the Senators said.
Three years ago when a $700 million revenue shortfall forced lawmakers
to slash state agency budgets, OHLAP funding was increased, Morgan
“We demonstrated how committed we are to OHLAP when we made
sure that funding was available for scholarships during the most
difficult budgeting time in state history,” Morgan said.
For more information contact:
Pro Tem's Office- (405) 521-5605