TULSA ACHIEVES: First Lady of Oklahoma Kim Henry, Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor and TCC President and CEO Tom McKeon each spoke about the important of higher education Mar. 14 when TCC announced its new full-scholarship program, Tulsa Achieves. The program will provide money to any graduating high school senior in Tulsa County.
ALICIA SHRUM for GTR Newspapers
Tulsa Community College (TCC) announced Mar. 14 a new scholarship program that will pay up to 100 percent of tuition and mandatory fees for up to 60 college credit hours for any student living in Tulsa County and graduating from high school.
The program is called ‘Tulsa Achieves.’ TCC President and CEO Tom McKeon said the goal of the scholarship is to increase the number of college graduates in Tulsa County.
“We must increase the number of high school graduates who attend college and graduate. Our responsibility as educators and citizens is to make college available to every student based on their ability to achieve, not just their ability to pay.”
According to the 2005 U.S. Census, 22.4 percent of Oklahoma’s population age 25 and above has a bachelor’s degree compared to the 27.2 percent for the U.S. population. Oklahoma ranks 42 in the nation in percentage of its population with college degrees. In Tulsa County, 21 perfect of its residents have college degrees.
Each year approximately 1,000 Tulsa County high school seniors who graduate in May enroll the following fall at TCC. TCC estimates that as many as 500 additional students will apply for the scholarship for Fall 2007.
To receive the Tulsa Achieves scholarship, students must live in Tulsa County and graduate from high school with a 2.0 GPA or better on a 4.0 scale. Home-schooled students living in Tulsa County are also eligible for participation with parent verification. The scholarship will only be available to seniors graduating in May 2007 and beyond.
Students must apply by April 30 and have the following forms on file: Free Application for Federal Student Air (FAFSA), a TCC application, ACT/SAT test scores, a high school transcript and a Tulsa Achieves program form.
The Tulsa Achieves scholarship will be applied to tuition and mandatory fees after all other scholarships and grants have been applied. The scholarship program is intended to eliminate any costs associated with tuition and mandatory fees for students who desire to attend college.
Students must meet certain guidelines to remain a Tulsa Achieves scholar while at TCC including: maintaining good academic standing (2.0 GPA or higher), continuous enrollment for the fall and spring semesters (summer optional), completing a financial aid application (FAFSA) each year and provide 40 hours of community service per academic year. The student may participate in community service through TCC’s Service Learning programs or other volunteer organizations.
TCC will pay for the cost of additional students through a combination of several budget strategies. Since 2004, TCC has added $900,000 to its annual scholarship fund for students. In the current fiscal year, the fun earmarked for student scholarships exceeds $2.4 million. Additionally, due to increasing success of private fundraising for critical equipment needs, which traditionally came from the college’s operating budget, TCC is able to shift funds to scholarship students. Finally, the Oklahoma Legislature’s commitment to the OHLAP program provides a solid foundation for many students entering TCC and limits the gap TCC must cover to provide a two-year scholarship.
“For the past 37 years, Tulsa County tax payers have supported this college,” McKeon says. “This is our way of giving back and giving hope to families who dream of a college education for their children,” McKeon said.
Tulsa Achieves information and financial aid sessions will be held every Saturday in April. Information is also available on campuses during regular business hours. Each participant will be assigned an academic advisor and will meet with that advisor each semester prior to enrollment.
For more information on Tulsa Achieves, called Student Recruitment Services at 595-7834.