The Norman Transcript

Opinion

June 21, 2014

Keeping their promise

NORMAN — With help from the Attorney General, Oklahoma really is keeping its promise to college-bound students. The legislature’s attempt to use $8 million from a nearly 25-year old college scholarship program was ruled illegal this week by AG Scott Pruitt.

Lawmakers wanted to use some of the program’s reserves to meet General Fund obligations. Minority leader Scott Inman, D-Del City, requested the AG’s opinion on the fund transfer.

Thousands of Oklahoma families have benefited from the Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program. Students from families earning $50,000 or less sign up early, agree to stay out of trouble and make good grades in high school.

In exchange, they receive free tuition at an Oklahoma higher education institution. Over the years, lawmakers have moved the income eligibility guideline, but until this year have yet to try and tap into the fund.

The program was set up to help middle-income families with college-bound students. It works. This year the program costs about $61 million and will fund scholarships for more than 18,000 students.

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