Oklahoma House Bill 1721 would cut tuition assistance eligibility

The Oklahoma lawmaker who penned a bill that would significantly reduce the number of students eligible for state tuition assistance defended the legislation Thursday.

"The intent of my legislation is to redirect the tuition assistance to families who truly need it," said state Rep. Leslie Osborn, R-Mustang. 

Currently, the state assistance program -- "Oklahoma's Promise" -- serves families with a household income of $50,000 or less at the time of the student's application to the program in the eighth, ninth or tenth grade and a household income of $100,000 or less when they enter college.

In return, the aid recipients are required to successfully take specific classes, along with staying out of trouble. 

Osborn's bill would lower the $100,000 mark to $75,000. An amendment would further lower it to $60,000. 

SEE THE BILL (http://bit.ly/Xeb1gX)

The lawmaker says the reduction is an effort to keep the funding alive for low-income families.

"We have to contain the program's costs to ensure its long-term viability for those families it is intended to serve," said Osborn. "Opponents may characterize the bill as breaking Oklahoma's Promise, but I would characterize it as keeping our promise."

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