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March 16, 2013

Senate approves in-state tuition measure broadening eligibility

NORMAN — The state Senate this week approved a measure that would broaden the number of high school graduates eligible for in-state tuition at Oklahoma colleges and universities.

Under Senate Bill 423, authored by Sen. John Sparks, individuals who receive a diploma from an Oklahoma high school will always be eligible for in-state tuition.  Sparks said his bill would give more people an opportunity to further their education at Oklahoma colleges and universities and compete for high-paying jobs.

“The children of Oklahoma families, some who have lived, worked and paid taxes in our state for generations, shouldn’t lose eligibility for in-state tuition if they leave the state for a few months or years after graduating high school,” said Sparks, D-Norman. 

SB 423 would also allow Oklahoma high school graduates who attend college in another state to be eligible for in-state tuition if they choose to return to Oklahoma for graduate school. 

“Our high school graduates should always be welcome to come home and pursue their dreams in their home state,” Sparks said.  “This is a proposal that can provide hope and opportunity for a number of Oklahomans, while expanding our pool of educated workers.”

Sparks noted that students who come home to advance their education are more likely to stay home.

“Ultimately, this is legislation that can bring back our best and brightest, create jobs and fight brain drain,” Sparks said. “We need to improve access to higher education, and I’m pleased my colleagues stood with me to make that goal more attainable for Oklahomans.”

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