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New Law Expands Scholarship Opportunities for Students with Disabilities


OKLAHOMA CITY – With the help of a new law passed by Governor Kevin Stitt, high school graduates with intellectual and developmental disabilities will be able to get college scholarships.

The name of it is the Access and Achievement Act. The bill was co-written by Rep. Ellyn Hefner (D-Oklahoma City), who works to help disabled Oklahomans. William, her youngest boy, was born with a disability.

As Hefner put it, “it opens up opportunities for high school graduates who have an intellectual developmental disability.” “I know that this bill might not be possible for William, but I do know that it should be possible for his younger friends.”

William finished high school in 2023. He wants to go to college one day.

“I need to get a job.” I want to make friends. “Maybe get a girlfriend,” William said with a grin.

She agreed with Rep. Hefner that the rule would help a lot of students who wouldn’t have gone to college otherwise.

“It also leads to something we talk about at home, which is going out with friends. His words, “Families have other choices if these programs are made available.”

OK, Promise is the name of the state’s scheme. It helps students who qualify get grants and money for school, but it doesn’t help students who have intellectual or developmental disabilities.

A lot of parents didn’t know these programs were going to be available, so they didn’t save. They may also have other financial needs for things like drugs and other costs that come with having a disabled child, Hefner said.

She then said that it costs a lot more for a disabled student to go to college than for a regular student.

Three state universities have classes for disabled students. The name for these programs is CTP, which stands for “comprehensive transition and postsecondary programs.”

That is something that students can do at OU, OSU, and NSU in Tahlequah. Even though the programs are small and the acceptance rate is even lower, Hefner said she thought the bill would make the chances bigger.

“Wouldn’t it be great if we helped those colleges achieve their goals?” Hefner said it.

From July 1, 2024, the Access and Achievement Act will be law.

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