Program promises free 2-year tuition to Texoma college students

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
The new program, which was announced during a ceremony Wednesday, promises to help offset the cost of college tuition for Texoma students who meet requirements and attend GC or other participating programs.

For many teenagers, there are many hurdles that can hold them back from pursuing higher education after high school. To ensure that the cost is not one of them, Grayson College and more than two dozen community partners have established the Texoma Promise, a new program aimed at providing a free two-year education for graduates within the college's service area.

Under the new program, graduating high school seniors within the college's coverage area can have tuition and mandatory fees paid for through the program at no cost to the student. In order to apply, students must meet several requirements including filing applications for federal and student financial assistance and have a household gross adjusted income of less than $80,000.

"The promise provides knowledge to all students that graduate from our region that they have a home in a collegiate environment," GC President Jeremy McMillen said Wednesday during an announcement ceremony.

Representatives from 21 area school districts and six area colleges came together for the unveiling of the new program Wednesday.

Beyond Grayson College, five other colleges —including Austin College and Southeastern Oklahoma State University — has committed to participate in the program.

The program came about amid dwindling numbers of students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only were fewer students enrolling, but the number that were succeeding in their students also diminished, McMillen said.

The program setup and technology was provided through support from the Greater Texas Foundation, Rural College Alliance, the National College Promise Campaign and Phi Theta Kappa, among other partners. The program will be similar to other promise programs including the Dallas County Promise and Alamo Promise.

Kristi Wade, director of Texoma Promise, said the program will be designed to be versatile and can extend beyond traditional two-year degrees. As an example, she said trade skills and certificate courses can also be covered by the program.

As a long term goal, Wade said she hoped to see more enrollment in the years to come, with a goal of between a 25 to 30 percent increase.

For more information on the program, please visit http://www.grayson.edu/texomapromise.