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OU launches Crimson Commitment program to replace Sooner Promise in attempt to increase freshman scholarships

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Crimson Committment

The Crimson Commitment logo from the OU Admissions website. The new program is for Oklahoma’s Promise students to make an OU education more affordable.  

OU is launching a new program for Oklahoma’s Promise students as part of an aim to make an OU education more affordable.  

The Crimson Commitment program is an “upgrade” and a replacement to the previous Sooner Promise program — the OU-specific version of Oklahoma's Promise — and will be implemented beginning fall 2019, according to a press release from the OU Office of Admissions and Recruitment.

Jeff Blahnik, associate provost for Strategic Enrollment Planning and executive director of OU Admissions and Recruitment, said the university is investing $1.5 million into the new program, which is a step toward prioritizing affordability so that access to an OU degree can be more attainable.

These improvements come in addition to OU’s decision not to raise tuition for the next academic year and to increase scholarship amounts for incoming freshmen.

“Oklahoma’s Promise has always been wonderful for helping students to pay for tuition, but we really needed something to keep up with fees and there wasn’t a program that had kept pace with the fee side of things,” Blahnik said. “We were like, ‘What could we do that would impact incoming freshmen and current students who are already in the Sooner Promise program?’”

Students enrolled in the Crimson Commitment program will not have to pay tuition and will have up to $8,000 in student fees per semester covered for four years. This is a $2,500 increase from the previous program, which covered $5,500 in student fees, Blahnik said.

Fees vary based on a student’s major; however, an average OU student owes around $4,000 per semester, Blahnik said. For example, a student who is taking 15 credit hours per semester in the OU College of Arts and Sciences typically has around $4,000 in student fees per semester.

Close to 2,000 OU students are currently receiving Oklahoma’s Promise. Those receiving Sooner Promise will automatically be a part of Crimson Commitment as long as they still meet the requirements, the release said.

Oklahoma residents whose family income does not exceed $55,000 can enroll in Oklahoma’s Promise between eighth and 10th grades.

To qualify for Crimson Commitment, incoming freshman must first qualify for Oklahoma’s Promise, apply to OU by the Feb. 1 deadline, be admitted as a direct-from-high-school, first-time, full-time freshman, complete a FAFSA by March 1 and be enrolled full-time each semester.

“We are taking action to make OU more affordable to Oklahomans and want students in the state to think of OU as their future college home,” Blahnik said. “We are dedicated to keeping Oklahoma talent in our state, and Crimson Commitment helps us serve strong students who are in most need of financial assistance.”

Sierra Rains-Moad is a senior journalism major at the University of Oklahoma and a news reporter for the OU Daily.

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