GEAR UP and Oklahoma’s Promise can help you achieve your dreams

An Interview with a Real-Life Oklahoma’s Promise Recipient

Two high school students working together on a computer

Meet Hannah DeLeon

As a dancer and Business Management major at Rogers State University, Hannah DeLeon is well on her way to her dream of opening and running a dance studio. Long before she was a Hillcat, she was a middle schooler in Skiatook with a dream to go to college and no idea how to pay for it. Then, she learned about Oklahoma’s Promise. 

Oklahoma’s Promise offers qualified Oklahoma students an opportunity to earn a scholarship for in-state college costs, and in some cases, a student may be able to attend college tuition-free.   

“I heard about Oklahoma’s promise when I started my 8th-grade year. I still remember filling out my application with the help of my teacher. It was super simple.” Hannah and her teacher were able to set up an account and fill out the online application in less than 10 minutes.  

Hannah received the scholarship and felt a huge weight lift off her shoulders. Students are often notified of their financial award soon after completing the application which allows them to relax and focus on school. “Receiving the scholarship early on gave me motivation because I realized I didn’t have to worry about it when I got to college,” Hannah said, “and I didn’t have to pay anything for college between the Oklahoma’s Promise scholarship and my Pell grant.”  

A Pell grant is a federal grant that doesn’t have to be repaid and covers books and supplies as well as course tuition. Many students who qualify for Oklahoma’s Promise also qualify for Pell grants, which makes attending a public four-year university like Rogers State nearly free.  

GEAR UP Can Help

The GEAR UP program is committed to ensuring that college-hopeful students across Oklahoma can access every resource they need to become college grads – including navigating them through scholarship and grant applications as well as the college prep process. Hannah credits her GEAR UP coach with helping her keep track of everything she needed to do to prepare for college, and now, Hannah is thriving at RSU. 

After Hannah completes her general education credits, she’s considering transferring to a university where she can double major in dance and business to pursue her dream of becoming a choreographer and owning a dance studio. Oklahoma’s Promise allows her to do that because it funds her education at any Oklahoma higher education institution. 

“When I applied for college, I had the support of friends, family, teachers and GEAR UP. It really was a fun process.” Hannah highly recommends students take advantage of GEAR UP services early to receive all the support needed when preparing for college. “They have amazing workers and coaches who will help you get where you need to go and receive the tools you need to get through college, whether it be advice or scholarships.”

If you’re considering applying for the Oklahoma’s Promise scholarship, double check that you qualify and then start your application. Contact your school specialist today with any questions about Oklahoma’s Promise, Pell grants or preparing for college. GEAR UP is here to help you succeed!