House Votes To Extend College Scholarships To Home Schoolers

Monday, March 12th 2007, 6:26 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- The Oklahoma House voted along partisan lines Monday to expand a popular state-financed college scholarship program to home-schooled children.

The measure by Rep. Randy Terrill, R-Moore, would make home schoolers eligible for the Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program, which grants scholarships to students from families earning less than $50,000 per year who take a rigorous college curriculum, maintain a 2.5 grade point average and stay out of trouble.

The measure would allow home-schooled students to apply for OHLAP scholarships providing they meet the eligibility requirements and score a 22 or higher on the ACT.

The House voted 72-25 for the measure. All 25 of the no votes were cast by Democrats.

Under current law, a student must graduate from an Oklahoma high school to apply for an OHLAP scholarship, "no matter how poor their families are or how high they score on the ACT," Terrill noted.

"Many home school families experience financial need just like many public school families do," Terrill said. "To penalize a student just because they were home schooled is unfair."

The program will cost $37 million this year. Officials estimate they will need $48 million for the next fiscal year to fund promised scholarships.

Terrill said the cost of adding home schoolers to the system will be only about $69,000 next year and $348,000 by fiscal year 2010.

The measure, House Bill 1299, not goes to the Senate for action.