High school graduates can save about $10,000 while earning an associate’s degree through a revamped program at Oklahoma City Community College.
The OKC-GO program, instituted a dozen years ago, allowed eligible high school graduates to attend OCCC tuition-free. The updated version of the program — called OKC-GO 2.0 — has all of the same benefits of the initial program, but also waives the fees and removes the time limit to graduation.
Why the change?
“We’re focusing on degree completion,” said Jon Horinek, OCCC director of recruitment and admissions. “We wanted to make sure they had the support they need to continue and get a degree.”
With both tuition and fees covered, an OCCC degree is virtually free, saving each student more than $10,000, he said.
Graduates from Oklahoma City Public Schools, selected public charter high schools and Western Heights High School are eligible for OKC-GO 2.0, regardless of income or GPA.
“It’s as close to a guaranteed degree as you can get,” Horinek said. “The OKC-GO 2.0 program is trying to eliminate some of the biggest barriers to completing a degree: cost and time.”
Previously, the program expired after three years or 61 credit hours, which was not realistic for some students, he said.
High school graduates can start the program in the summer, fall or spring after graduation, and can choose from more than 50 major fields of study.
Kasey Jordan, 19, chose nursing. She learned about OKC-GO while attending Pathways Middle College High School.
“It was free college. Yeah!” Jordan said. “I don’t think I’d have gone to college if I didn’t have OKC-GO.”
After graduating from high school last spring, she began classes at OCCC in the fall. She has applied for the nursing program for the spring 2015 semester.
“A really, really good pre-op nurse” who cared for Jordan in 2011 made her want to be a nurse. Now OKC-GO is helping her attain that goal.
“It’s awesome,” she said.
Horinek said the revamped program fits into the state’s Complete College America initiative, which is focused on helping more college students graduate with a degree.
The goal is for every student who enters OCCC to earn an associate’s degree and start a career or go on to a four-year college.
“We have a real commitment to urban high schools here in the metro area,” Horinek said, “to students who might not be able to go otherwise.”
Go to occc.edu/okc-go for more information.