For Immediate Release: March 7, 2007
Senator Mike Morgan
Senate Approves Dedicated Funding Source For Successful Scholarship
Legislation to ensure that Oklahoma will keep
its promise to pay the college tuition for thousands of deserving
scholarship recipients was approved by the full State Senate
Senate Bill 820 creates a permanent dedicated funding source
for the Oklahoma’s Promise Scholarship Program.
“This legislation will assure that every student who qualifies
for an Oklahoma’s Promise scholarship will receive their
scholarship,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Morgan,
author of the measure. Currently, approximately 15,000 students
are attending college on Oklahoma’s Promise scholarships
and another 30,000 middle and high school students have signed
up for the program.
“As a state, we’ve made a promise to these students.
This bill will ensure that we keep that promise,” Morgan
said. The legislation is part of the 2007 legislative agendas
of the Senate Democrats’ and Governor Brad Henry.
Morgan noted that funds to pay Oklahoma’s Promise scholarships
for the current fiscal year have run out due to lagging revenues
from some sources, leaving many scholarship students in limbo.
“I am confident that the Legislature will provide a supplemental
appropriation and that these students will receive their scholarships,
but passage of this legislation, will mean we won’t have
to have this discussion in the future. Oklahoma’s Promise
scholarships will get funded first,” Morgan said.
Senate Bill 820 requires the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher
Education to certify the amount needed to fund the program in
the coming fiscal year each November. The funds would then be
set aside when the State Board of Equalization meets in December
The measure is similar to the ROADS program passed by the Legislature
in 2006 to boost highway maintenance funding. Unlike the ROADS
program, however, Oklahoma’s Promise funding is not limited
to revenue from personal income tax. Oklahoma’s Promise
funding will simply come from state general revenue, further
ensuring that funds will always be available to pay for the
Oklahoma’s Promise, originally known as the Oklahoma Higher
Learning Access Program, provides scholarships for students
who complete a specific college-preparatory curriculum, make
good grades and stay out of trouble. Students, whose family
income is $50,000 or less, can sign up for the program in the
8th, 9th or 10th grades.
The program began in the early 1990s and has been incredibly
successful. The program’s annual cost has grown to nearly
$40 million is projected to reach nearly $50 million in Fiscal
Year 2008 and $60 million by FY 2009.
“These students take personal responsibility for their
future. They make a promise to the state that they will prepare
themselves for college and the state, in turn, commits to provide
them with a college education.
This legislation will ensure that the state keeps its end of
the bargain,” Morgan said.
For more information contact:
Senator Morgan's Office - (405) 521-5605