As state funding for education in Oklahoma declines, scholarships have increasingly become a determining factor in pursuing a college degree.
Oklahoma State University-Tulsa and Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences are turning to private donors to help make higher education more attainable.
“Without financial aid, this college year wouldn’t be possible. It just wouldn’t,” said Mabel Sanchez, an OSU-Tulsa junior studying elementary education. “I am passionate about my dream of teaching young English-language learners and helping them succeed in school and in life.”
Sanchez is one of hundreds of students at OSU-Tulsa and OSU-CHS who have received scholarships as a result of A Stately Affair in Tulsa. Since 2011, nearly $1.5 million has been raised to provide financial assistance for OSU students in Tulsa.
Seventy-five percent of the nation’s fastest-growing occupations require education and training beyond a high school diploma, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
The Tulsa Regional Chamber estimates that Oklahoma will have 541,000 job vacancies by 2018. Of those, 308,000 will require post-secondary education, increasing their competitiveness in the job market, data shows.
In addition to a college graduate’s ability to give back to society and improve their quality of life, research shows that higher education boosts the economy by attracting new businesses and generating jobs.
A one-percentage-point increase in college attainment would have an impact of $646 million on Tulsa’s economy, according to the Tulsa Chamber.
Scholarships for OSU-CHS medical students have a long-ranging effect on the health and lives of Oklahomans, particularly those in rural and underserved areas.
Based on OSU’s land-grant mission, the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine aims to combat the growing physician shortage by providing more scholarship opportunities to those interested in attending medical school.
Matthew Haney, D.O., who is in his residency at Tulsa’s In His Image Family Medicine program at St. John Medical Center, said the A Stately Affair scholarship was critical to his ability to complete a medical degree at OSU-CHS.
“This financial help was a huge blessing for my family and me,” he says. “It was an essential part of achieving my dream of becoming a doctor.”
A Stately Affair in Tulsa is set for May 1 at Southern Hills Country Club. For sponsorship information, visit www.astatelyaffair.com or contact the OSU Foundation in Tulsa at 918-594-8500.