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Bill signed by Governor Fallin modifies school eligibility for Oklahoma grant

OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin signed Senate Bill 600 this week to clarify that eligible institutions for the Oklahoma Tuition Equalization Grant must have been granted not-for-profit status by the IRS and the U.S. Department of Education before July 1, 2012.

The Oklahoma Tuition Equalization Grant provides annual $2,000 stipends for students in Oklahoma who attend certain qualified private and independent, not-for-profit colleges and universities.

Sen. Jason Smalley, who authored the bill along with Rep. Katie Henke, said the change will close a loophole that allowed certain institutions not intended for the grant to now 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.”

The institutions that are eligible for the grant are:

  • Private or independent
  • Not-for-profit college or universities
  • Based in Oklahoma

They meet approved program and accreditation standards.

In order for a student to be eligible for the grant, the student must:

  • Be an Oklahoma resident
  • Be enrolled as a full-time undergraduate student in an eligible college or university
  • Parents’ income must be less than $50,000 per year or the student’s income, if independent and self-supporting as determined by State Regents.

The student must pay more tuition than required (compared to a public institution of higher education) and also pay no less than the regular institution than all students enrolled at their institution.

Students must meet minimum standards of academic performance required by the 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.