Oklahoma Student Grants for College
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The state of Oklahoma has set up a website called OKcollegestart.org to disseminate information about Oklahoma’s colleges and the financial aid programs Oklahoma has designed to assist its students. Oklahoma’s higher education agency is called the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education (OSRHE), and OSRHE currently offers two types of college grant, explained below.
Oklahoma students can participate in either the Oklahoma Tuition Aid Grant (OTAG) or the Oklahoma Tuition Equalization Grant (OTEG) programs.
Oklahoma Tuition Aid Grant
OTAG awards support students who can demonstrate financial need, and that requires filing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The amount you and your family can afford to pay, called your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), is calculated from the FAFSA, and since there is always limited funding available for OTAG you should submit your FAFSA as early as possible to maximize your chance of receiving a grant.
There is no separate application for OTAG. If you describe yourself as an Oklahoma resident on the FAFSA, you will be considered for an OTAG grant. Nor are there are academic standards: if an eligible school finds your performance satisfactory, that will do for OTAG.
OTAG does not restrict its awards to U. S. citizens, which is unusual in state-funded aid. Since students who are undocumented immigrants cannot file the expected FAFSA, a different set of criteria has been established for them. Those applicants must have:
- Graduated from an Oklahoma high school.
- Lived in Oklahoma with either a parent or a guardian for two years before that graduation.
- Provided a copy of the application or petition for legal status filed by the student with U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
There is also a special application form so the student can give OSRHE the information that would normally appear on the FAFSA.
Maximum amounts for OTAG vary according to the type of school attended. For public schools, the most you can expect in a year is $1,000 or 75% of your enrollment expense, whichever is less. Private school students receive no more than $1,300 per year.
Oklahoma Tuition Equalization Grant
Like OTAG, OTEG grants are also distributed to undergraduates based on financial need. You retain eligibility for OTAG as long as you attend school at least half-time (usually six hours a semester), but OTEG mandates full-time attendance in either fall or spring semesters. As the name implies, OTEG helps students pay tuition costs remaining after the EFC has been paid at qualified private nonprofit schools.
The current OTEG limit is $2,000 for each academic year. OTEG also uses the FAFSA as its application form, meaning you must choose Oklahoma as your state of residence. OTEG has a cap on family income: your family’s annual income cannot exceed $50,000.
Be advised that whereas over 60 schools are eligible for OTAG grants, the list of OTEG-qualified schools is much shorter (currently only 13 schools are included).
Federal Grants Recommended By OSRHE
OSRHE advises Oklahoma students to apply for two federal need-based grants, the Pell Grants and FSEOG (Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants). FSEOG awards go to students who have what is called exceptional financial need, which means they have college costs remaining even after a Pell grant has been applied.
You must receive a Pell in order to qualify for FSEOG, and while every student who meets the Pell criteria is funded the limited amount of FSEOG money provided to each participating school prevents distributing an FSEOG to every qualified student. Therefore, you should submit a FAFSA as early as possible to improve your chances. FSEOG applications are prioritized by need, though, so even prompt action on your part may not guarantee funding.
The Pell grant goes only to undergraduates who have not yet earned degrees, with some exceptions made for teacher training that takes place after college graduation. The most you can receive annually from the Pell grant program is currently $5,645 (up from $5,550). The FSEOG maximum is $4,000, and since FSEOG is awarded by your school’s financial aid office rather than the U. S. Department of Education, that is where you should direct any questions about the amount of your award.
Additional Federal Grants
There are also two other federal grant programs operating currently which can be used by Oklahoma students. One, the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant, gives up to $4,000 a year to those students training for a career in teaching. You must take a TEACH-approved curriculum at a school that participates in the program, and meet certain academic standards (for example, scoring above the 75th percentile on a standardized test or presenting a GPA of 3.25).
The Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants are reserved for students whose parents died in military service abroad after the 9/11 attack. You can read more about the program’s terms here.