The deadline for a popular state scholarship program is quickly approaching for Oklahoma high school students who just completed the 10th grade.

June 30 is the deadline for those students to enroll in Oklahoma’s Promise, a state scholarship program that allows high school students from families whose annual income is $50,000 or less to earn free college tuition.

“Now is the time for families to start thinking about the future,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “Oklahoma’s Promise provides many Oklahoma students the opportunity to get a college degree. We encourage every eligible student, especially high school sophomores, to sign up for the program before the June 30 deadline.”

The Oklahoma’s Promise scholarship covers college tuition for up to five years or upon the completion of a bachelor’s degree at any public college or university in the state. It will also pay a portion of the tuition at an accredited Oklahoma private institution or for courses at public career technology centers that are approved for credit toward an Associate of Applied Science degree at a public college. The scholarship amount does not include items such as fees, books, supplies, or room and board.

At Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College, 277 students received an average of $1360 in tuition assistance from Oklahoma’s Promise in 2009-10. The total amount distributed to NEO students by Oklahoma’s Promise was $376,000. In addition, NEO awarded 107 of those students a room waiver that averaged $925. In total, $99,000 was provided in room waivers to NEO’s Oklahoma’s Promise students last academic year.

To apply for Oklahoma’s Promise online, visit www.okpromise.org. Information is also available by e-mailing okpromise@osrhe.edu or by calling (800) 858-1840.

Students must enroll in Oklahoma’s Promise during eighth, ninth or 10th grade. The scholarship program cannot accept applications for the 2009-10 school year after June 30. Therefore, students who just finished their 10th-grade year will not be eligible to enroll after this deadline.

After students enroll in Oklahoma’s Promise, they must attend class regularly, take a 17-unit college preparatory curriculum, pass those courses with at least a 2.5 grade point average and achieve at least an overall 2.5 GPA to earn the scholarship. Students must also agree to stay out of serious trouble and avoid drugs and alcohol.

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education are in the third year of a multi-year campaign aimed at increasing enrollment in Oklahoma’s Promise and overall awareness of the program.

The television, radio and print ads target parents and encourage enrolling their students in Oklahoma’s Promise before the June 30 deadline.

Since the campaign’s launch, the State Regents have received a record number of inquiries about Oklahoma’s Promise, and there has been a significant increase in the number of online applications received.

The Oklahoma Legislature created Oklahoma’s Promise in 1992 as an incentive for middle and high school students to commit to academic success and prepare for college.

Since its inception, more than 100,000 students have enrolled in the program. An estimated 19,600 students will receive Oklahoma’s Promise scholarships this coming fall, and that number is expected to increase to 20,000 by fall 2011. Since 1996, college students have received more than $240 million in scholarships through the program.

Oklahoma's Promise is recognized by many as America's best college access program and is considered a model that emphasizes both academic preparation and financial support for college.