How Tulsa Area High School Students Can Get a College Degree or a Postsecondary Technical Education with Little or No Student Debt


Why a Postsecondary Education is Going to be Much More Important in the Future

Currently about half of the jobs in Oklahoma only require a high school education. That is projected to drop to 25% in ten years. The reason is the next phase of automation using artificial intelligence and robotics that will rapidly change the economy of Oklahoma and particularly affect Tulsa. Tulsa is one of the most vulnerable cities in the US to employment changes from automation because 47% of the workforce is employed in repetitive task and low cognitive skill jobs according to a recent research report by the Brookings Institute. The includes jobs like chefs in restaurants, warehouse fulfillment workers, pharmacy assistants and construction. This technology is expected to be rapidly adopted and is projected to cut in half the opportunities for people with just a high school degree. Go to the home page and click on the tab “Start Building a Successful Career” to see videos of several of these robots. If you  don’t get more education after high school you will be fighting for the shrinking number of jobs available to people with no education beyond high school. We want more of Tulsa’s young people to become part of the workforce that benefits from changing technology and not be punished by it by helping you get the education you will need to thrive in our rapidly evolving economy.


How TPS Grads can Pay for Their Postsecondary Education

The high cost of college and technical training is discouraging many TPS high school Seniors from going on and getting a postsecondary education and younger high school students from taking the classes you need to prepare for college or technical training because you don’t think you can afford it without taking our a lot of student loans. But there are many programs for Tulsa area high school graduates to get 100% of their tuition paid that don’t require you to be the valedictorian of your class. A 2.5 GPA will get you admission into many good schools where you can get the education you need to build a successful  career. If you work hard and do better, there will be opportunities to have your tuition paid to even better schools. There are also programs at many colleges where you can get additional money for room and board if you need to live on campus including  opportunities for work/study programs. But the earlier you start researching these opportunities and the earlier you apply, the more money you will receive. We have several examples men and women who graduated from area schools and went on to college and never needed to take out student loans. Play the video “The Juice is Worth the Squeeze” on our homepage and browse our list of mentors and podcasts.

Oklahoma’s  Promise Scholarship

Oklahoma’s legislature passed a scholarship program for students from families with an income of $60,000 in 2022 called Oklahoma’s Promise. This program is paying all or part of the tuition for around 6,500 students attending a two or four year college in our state and some technical  schools like OSU Tech. Participation is down from over 10,500 students just ten years ago. It is free money. Go get it! OU will now cover any shortfall from the Promise scholarship so you can get 100% of your tuition paid. OSU has funding to help and you can also apply for Pell Grants that unlike a student loan to on have to be repaid.  But you need to apply early before December so you are first in line as the funding is limited. Here are the Promise  requirements:

OK’s Promise  Requirements

  1. The family income of the student’s parents may not exceed $60,,000 at the time of enrollment in the eighth, ninth, or 10th grade. Prior to receiving any program benefit in college, the federal adjusted gross income of the student’s parents may not exceed $100,000. For any year that the income exceeds $100,000, the student will not be eligible to receive the program benefit. A FAFSA form is required to be filled each year in college.
  2. Take 17 units of required course work in high school to help get ready for college.
  3. Make a cumulative 2.50 GPA for all courses in grades 9-12.
  4. Make a cumulative 2.50 GPA or better in the 17-unit OK Promise core curriculum.2
  5. Do your homework.
  6. Don’t skip school.
  7. Don’t abuse drugs or alcohol.
  8. Don’t commit criminal or delinquent acts.
  9. Meet with a teacher, counselor or principal to go over your schoolwork and records.
  10. Provide information when requested.
  11. Apply for other financial aid during your senior year of high school.
  12. Take part in Oklahoma’s Promise activities that will prepare you for college.
  13. The student must be a U.S. citizen or lawfully present in the United States at the time they enroll in college in order to receive the scholarship.

Tulsa Community College’s Tulsa Achieves Scholarship 

Pays 100% of the tuition for Tulsa County HS graduates to TCC for 2 years. There are no income requirements. Must have lived in Tulsa County for 4 years to receive full benefits and have a 2.0 GPA.

Tulsa Tech’s Independence Scholarship
This scholarship also pays 100% of the tuition for Tulsa Tech and is available to anyone graduating from a Tulsa area school served by Tulsa Tech regardless of family income.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in English and Spanish

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is the form that the federal government, states, colleges and other organizations use to award financial aid including Tulsa Achieves, Tulsa Tech’s Independence Scholarship and OK’s Promise. Submitting it is your key to accessing grants, scholarships, work-study programs and federal student loans. You need your parents to also complete their part of the FAFSA. If you or your parents need help completing the form, check with you school counselors. YPNG also has workshops on weekends at various schools and libraries near your high school on Saturdays if your parents can not get off work during the week. Contact LuShuna Blalock, at  TPS Parent/Student services to local a weekend program.

College Work/Study  Programs

 For students who attend OU in Norman, OSU Stillwater or other colleges where students must live on campus, colleges offer work opportunities that will cover most if not all of these costs working approximately 16 hours per week. Check with you college recruiter once you have filed you application. Do it early. Applications are accepted in August just before the start of your senior year.

Remember that Good Grades are Money in the Bank. The better your grades the more scholarships you will earn and the better college you can attend. The better college you attend, the better the job you will get when you graduate. That will put you up higher on the rung of the ladder of success. Work hard in high school to build a record of achievement. The Juice is Worth the Squeeze!




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