Sen. Jason Smalley
Governor signs bill modifying school eligibility for Oklahoma
Tuition Equalization Grant
The Oklahoma Tuition Equalization Grant provides
annual $2,000 stipends for Oklahoma students attending certain
qualified private and independent, not-for-profit colleges and
universities. The governor signed Senate Bill 600, by Sen.
Jason Smalley and Rep. Katie Henke, this week to clarify that
eligible institutions must have been granted not-for-profit status
by the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Department of Education
before July 1, 2012. Smalley said the change closes a loophole
that was allowing certain institutions not intended for the grant
to qualify for it.
“This bill will prevent for-profit trade schools who aren’t
regionally accredited from changing to not-for-profit and then
being eligible for these funds,” said Smalley, R-Stroud.
“It’ll also guarantee that academic rigor will be
maintained within the degree programs offered by the regionally
accredited colleges and universities.”
Those institutions that are eligible for the grant are private
or independent, not-for-profit colleges or universities that are
based in Oklahoma, meet approved program and accreditation standards
as determined by the State Regents, and are fully accredited by
the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association
on Colleges and Schools or a national accrediting body recognized
by the U.S. Department of Education.
“I want to thank my colleagues in the Senate and House for
helping get this important bill to the governor’s desk and
for helping ensure that the purpose of the Oklahoma Tuition Equalization
Grant program is protected and continues helping eligible Oklahoma
students be able to better afford a college degree,” said
Subject to the availability of funds in the Oklahoma Tuition Equalization
Grant Trust Fund, the State Regents can award a $2,000 grant per
academic year or $1,000 per academic semester from the Oklahoma
Tuition Equalization Grant Trust Fund. The program began in the
2003-2004 school year.
To be eligible for a grant, a student must be an Oklahoma resident,
have enrolled as a full-time undergraduate student in an eligible
college or university. Their parents’ income from taxable
and nontaxable sources must be less than $50,000 per year or the
student’s income, if independent and self-supporting as
determined by the State Regents consistent with federal financial
aid regulations. The student must pay more tuition than is required
at a comparable public institution of higher education and pay
no less than the regular tuition required of all students enrolled
at their institution. They must maintain at least minimum standards
of academic performance as required by the enrolling institution.
Eligible institutions include Bacone College, Family of Faith
College, Mid-America Christian University, Oklahoma Baptist University,
Oklahoma Christian University, Oklahoma City University, Oklahoma
Wesleyan University, Oral Roberts University, Southern Nazarene
University, Southwestern Christian University, St. Gregory's University,
the University of Tulsa and Randall University.
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