“At the Corner of Hope and Worry” was a headline in The New York Times that caught my attention. I thought it an apt description of where many of us have stood during life transitions.
It also describes a place where many parents find themselves when considering a college education for their children. Higher education during a stressful economy may seem like the impossible dream.
However, in the last few weeks, I've heard two Oklahoma colleges referred to as places where a student can graduate with very little debt and sometimes debt-free.
One is the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma in Chickasha.
I was on that campus in 1956, as a high school delegate to Girls State. It was then the Oklahoma College for Women. Today it is a public liberal arts college serving both men and women.
My friend Dr. Mari Fagin is a former faculty member of USAO. She tells me USAO is listed in Kiplinger Personal Finance Magazine as one of its “100 Best Values in Public Colleges” in America for 2012 and that USAO alone is mentioned by Kiplinger as a “steal” for combining reasonable cost with academic excellence.
USAO's president, Dr. John Feaver, says the staff works with students to secure scholarships and Pell grants and 20 percent of their students get help from Oklahoma's Promise, established in 1992 to help students whose parents make less than $50,000 a year.
The other is Oklahoma City Community College.
The community college offers associate degrees that can be completed in two years and prepares students for jobs in top career fields.
According to OCCC President Dr. Paul Sechrist, Oklahoma City Public Schools and Western Heights High School graduates can attend OCCC and have 100 percent of their tuition waived. This program is called OKC Go!
If you find yourself standing on the corner of hope and worry, don't despair. There are options out there and skilled people to help you explore them.
Charlotte Lankard is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.