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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Author of OHLAP reform defends bill

  • State Rep. Leslie Osborn said her legislation to lower the income cap on the Oklahoma’s Promise scholarship is intended to ensure the program serves low-income families.
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  • State Rep. Leslie Osborn said her legislation to lower the income cap on the Oklahoma’s Promise scholarship is intended to ensure the program serves low-income families, not to find savings for a tax cut, as opponents have alleged.
     
    “I think the Oklahoma’s Promise program is one of the best our state offers,” said Osborn, R-Mustang.
     
    “I fully support the idea of hard-working students of low-income families receiving a scholarship from the state to achieve their educational goals. That said, our current law does not restrict the program to low-income families. Children of families earning $100,000 a year are currently able to receive this scholarship. We are lowering that threshold so that the scholarship is entirely directed to low-income families.”
     
    House Bill 1721, by Osborn, changes the income requirements on the Oklahoma’s Promise scholarship, lowering the income cap for the families of students entering college on an OHLAP scholarship from $100,000 to $60,000. Families of the eighth, ninth and 10th grade students can make no more than $50,000 when the student initially qualifies for the program.
     
    The legislation was approved by a vote of 56-37 by the Oklahoma House of Representatives today.
     
    Osborn said that there are a limited number of applicants to the program and that lowering the cap makes sure low-income students are able to attend college, which would help Gov. Mary Fallin’s goal for the state to produce more college graduates.
     
    “Those who stood up and argued against House Bill 1721 may have thought they were arguing on behalf of low-income families in their district, but they are actually arguing to take scholarships from low-income families and give it to families who can afford to send their children to college,” Osborn said.
     
    House Bill 1721 now advances to the state Senate.
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