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ODSA Call to Action: HB 3211

Dear ODSA,

I want to make you aware of the status of HB 3211 (by Hickman and Halligan).  For those of you who are not aware of what HB 3211 is, it is a proposed amendment to Oklahoma’s Promise.  Please see below for the exact wording on the House Bill:

1.     Enroll in a minimum of thirty (30) credit hours each academic year. Each institution of higher education may establish a policy to approve exceptions to this requirement for hardship circumstances as determined by the institution. The institution shall provide a copy of the policy to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. After the end of each academic year, each institution shall submit a report to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education providing the total number of exceptions approved and a summary of the exceptions by type of hardship;

We all know that this will put an extreme hardship on OK Promise students.  For some, 12 credit hours a semester can be challenging and more taxing if a student has a job and/or personal obligations.  As of right now, HB 3211 has passed through the Senate with amendments and has been received back at the House.  If the House approves the bill with the amendments, then HB 3211 goes on to Governor Mary Fallin, for her recommendation.  It is imperative that we take action, not doing so puts our students at risk.  After viewing the votes, it seems that there is strong support for HB 3211 from both sides.

What can we do?  Here are a couple of ways to demonstrate your opposition:

*   Contact your State Representatives and voice your concerns over the required 30 hours per academic year, let them know that approving this bill will be detrimental to students in OK.
*   Contact your university administrators and express your concerns.  Explain the institution’s role in issuing reasonable hardship exceptions and the impact this may have on the institutions retention/graduate rates.  Encourage them to reach out to our legislators as well.

OK’s Promise was originally created to alleviate hardships for students who met the eligibility criteria and this amendment appears to be inconsistent with the original intent of the program.  I know many of you may have questions and we will work hard to provide you with some answers.  We will continue to provide you updates and thank you for your hard work and dedication to educational equality.

Thanks,

Rosario Riley, ODSA President

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