After bruising debate, Oklahoma House passes bill restricting higher education aid program

Kristen Domonell's picture
Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Oklahoma House voted Monday to limit the students eligible for a statewide college-aid program amid fears that rising costs could jeopardize the tuition payments for many low-income students who rely on them.

By a 56-37 vote, the House narrowly cleared a proposal from Rep. Leslie Osborn, R-Mustang, that would restrict the families eligible for the Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program, also known as Oklahoma's Promise. It now heads to the Senate.

Currently, the program pays public tuition costs to students who meet certain academic standards if their families also meet two requirements: earning less than $50,000 when the students apply in eighth, ninth or 10th grade and earning less than $100,000 when the students start college. Osborn's bill would change that final requirement to less than $60,000.

Osborn said the bill would save the program for the neediest students. She pointed to the program's budget, which she said has ballooned from $4.5 million in 2003 to roughly $60 million the past school year.

Read more »