What do you think of when you think of Oklahoma? You most likely think of college football. If it is not college football, you may think about the great plains and rolling prairies of the state.

While you may think the presence of prairies equates to not many goings-ons in the state, that is actually quite the contrary within Oklahoma’s 69,898 sq. miles of land. In fact, there are a variety of great colleges and universities the state’s residents can attend. There are even awesome financial aid programs that can help them afford to go to college as well.

Some of these financial aid programs include Oklahoma’s Promise, Academic Scholars Program and the Regional University Baccalaureate Scholarship.

Oklahoma’s Promise

The Oklahoma’s Promise program is designed to help college-bound high school students in families with an income of $60,000 or less earn free college tuition from this “cashscholarship; it is not a tuition waiver program. This designation allows recipients to use additional financial aid programs to help them afford to attend college.

To be eligible for the program, a student must:

  • Be an Oklahoma resident
  • Be a college-bound Oklahoma high school student in an Oklahoma school district or be enrolled in an approved public or private Oklahoma postsecondary institution
  • Be a U.S. citizen or be lawfully present in the country
  • Comply with and sign-off on a student agreement to:
    • Attend classes and do homework assignments regularly
    • Not abuse substances
    • Not commit crimes or delinquent acts
    • Have schoolwork and records reviewed by designated Oklahoma’s Promise mentors
    • Provide information requested by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education or the Oklahoma State Board of Education
    • Participate in any necessary program activities
  • Use the scholarship within three years of graduating from high school
  • Have earned a minimum, cumulative 2.50 GPA on a 4.00 scale in high school
  • Have scored a 22 or higher on the ACT
  • Complete all curriculum requirements for admission into a college:
    • These include foreign language or non-English languages courses, technical courses and fine arts courses
    • A 2.50 GPA or better must have been earned in all core curriculum courses
  • Demonstrate a financial need for funding
  • Complete and file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) after October 1 (of the student’s senior year; must file FAFSA for every year of college as well)
  • Complete and submit the Oklahoma’s Promise application for the student’s first year of college before the June 30 deadline.

To apply for Oklahoma’s Promise, a student needs to complete and file FAFSA annually and initially submit the scholarship’s application.

The scholarship is renewable as long as the student maintains good academic standing, satisfactory academic progress and refrains from conduct that could lead to expulsion from school.

The scholarship’s amount ultimately depends on which college the student is attending and the amount of credit hours a student is enrolled in, but tuition will be completely paid for at a public college or university. A portion of tuition will be paid for at a private college or university or an approved, public technical program.

A student will be ineligible for the program if they have:

  • Been enrolled in school for over five consecutive years
  • Completed their bachelor’s degree
  • Taken 129 or more semester credit hours

Academic Scholars Program

The Academic Scholars Program provides scholarships to academically outstanding students attending Oklahoma colleges.

To be eligible for the program, a student must:

  • Be an Oklahoma resident
  • Be a National Merit Scholar, National Merit Finalist or U.S. Presidential Scholar or
  • Score above the 99.5 percentile on the ACT (total sum score of the ACT skill areas of 138) or the SAT (total sum score of critical reading and math skill areas of 1540) or
  • Be nominated by their college based on the school’s own criteria
  • Complete and submit the Academic Scholars Program application

To officially apply for the program, a student who has been designated as one of the outstanding scholars or has scored high on the ACT or SAT needs to acquire an application from their high school counselor. To complete and submit the application, a student needs to also submit their high school transcript, documents proving their distinguished scholar selection and their ACT or SAT scores and student test report(s).

If a student has been nominated by their college, the student needs to follow-up with their school’s financial aid office to find out what the next steps are to officially apply.

The scholarships from the program are renewable as long as a student:

  • Maintains continuous full-time enrollment each semester
    • Full-time enrollment is considered as taking at least 12 credit hours per semester
  • Complete at least 24 credit hours per academic year
  • Maintain a minimum, cumulative 3.25 GPA annually

For students who became eligible for the program via designation or test scores, they can receive:

  • Up to $5,000 per academic year if they attend the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University or the University of Tulsa
  • Up to $4,000 per academic year if they attend any other four-year public or private Oklahoma college or university
  • Up to $3,500 per academic year if they attend a two-year Oklahoma college

For students who were nominated to be eligible for the program by their college, they can receive:

  • Up to $3,200 per academic year if they attend the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University or the University of Tulsa
  • Up to $2,400 per academic year if they attend the any other four-year public or private Oklahoma college or university
  • Up to $2,200 per academic year if they attend a two-year Oklahoma college

The scholarship’s funds can be used to cover the cost of tuition, fees, room and board, books and supplies for up to eight semesters.

Regional University Baccalaureate Scholarship

The Regional University Baccalaureate Scholarship is designed to assist academically promising Oklahoma students enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs at 11 participating colleges with up to four years of scholarship support.

To be eligible for the scholarship, a student must:

  • Be an Oklahoma resident
  • Meet one of the following:
    • Have an ACT composite score of 30 or higher
    • Be a National Merit Semifinalist or Commended Student
  • Attend one of the following public Oklahoma colleges:
    • Cameron University in Lawton
    • East Central University in Ada
    • Langston University in Langston
    • Northeastern State University in Tahlequah
    • Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Alva
    • Oklahoma Panhandle State University in Goodwell
    • Rogers State University in Claremore
    • Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant
    • Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford
    • University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond
    • University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma in Chickasha
  • Maintain full-time enrollment each semester
  • Maintain a minimum, cumulative 3.25 GPA each academic year
  • Complete and file the Regional University Baccalaureate Scholarship application with the student’s school

The scholarship is renewable as long as the eligibility criteria continues to be met. If a student becomes ineligible, they can be reinstated one time as long as their GPA is raised back up to 3.25 or the credit hour deficiency is fixed within one year.

A scholarship recipient can receive up to $3,000 per academic year and a resident tuition waiver for up to eight semesters or until the student has earned their bachelor’s degree. The scholarship can only be used at one school and cannot be transferred to a different school.

Major Oklahoma Colleges and Universities

11 public Oklahoma colleges and universities have already been name-dropped in this blog, but there are many other great postsecondary institutions located in the Sooner State. Some of the schools include:

  • Oklahoma City University in Oklahoma City (private)
  • Oklahoma State University (main campus) in Stillwater (public)
  • Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology in Okmulgee (public)
  • University of Oklahoma in Norman (public)
  • University of Tulsa in Tulsa (private)
  • Western Oklahoma State College in Altus (public)

Oklahoma residents can enjoy receiving a higher education thanks to the ample amount of postsecondary institutions in the state as well as its great financial aid programs.