Returning Student FAQs

For students planning to pursue a degree in one of Oklahoma's 100 Critical Occupations. 

At Reach Higher: DirectComplete, we know that going back to school, especially for an adult, can be a daunting experience, so we encourage you to do some research and visit the website of your preferred college or university to see what financial assistance they provide. Complete your FAFSA at to see if you are eligible for PELL or other grants and scholarships. Reach Higher: DirectComplete Navigators at each of our participating colleges and universities are there to assist you in finding the resources that you need to make sure you can enroll in the classes required to finish your degree and stay in school until your degree is completed. Go to our Participating Institutions page and find your preferred institution’s Navigator contact page.  Or complete a Student Interest Form and your Navigator will contact you.

Yes, all Reach Higher: DirectComplete applicants must complete a FAFSA application.  This will help the Navigator at your preferred institution know how much financial aid you are receiving, and they can help you to find additional aid as needed. When you complete your FAFSA at you will be able to find out what grants and scholarships you might be able to get. Grants and scholarships can come from the federal government, your state government, your college or career school, or a private or nonprofit organization. Completing the FAFSA is worth your time!

While you are in school other emergencies may come up and we do not want you to get discouraged. As soon as a need arises, meet with your Reach Higher: DirectComplete Navigator to find out how you can access resources that may be available on your campus, such as emergency funds or tutoring, and your Navigator can also help link you to other resources within your community.

Going back to school as an adult to attain your degree offers a unique set of challenges, with an understanding that adults have responsibilities that the typical traditional student may not. That is why Reach Higher: DirectComplete is designed specifically for adults at least 25 years old to return to school until they complete a degree that is linked directly to workforce needs. Your preferred institution’s Navigator has a list of resources across the state that can assist adults with things like food, shelter, clothing, car repair, etc.

There is a college out there for everyone. The most important part of finding the right college is determining if a school is a good fit for you. A college that’s a good fit should have the following characteristics:

  1. The college matches you academically
  2. The college is affordable for you and your family
  3. The college will help you get where you want to go
  4. The college feels “right”

A lot goes into the “feel” equation, including geographic location, size/type of the college, and social atmosphere. Some students also take campus diversity and distance from home into account. Only you know which combination of these things will make you happy–listen to yourself.

Oklahoma’s top critical occupations represent the most pressing needs in each of Oklahoma’s Driver and Complementary Ecosystems necessary for the state’s continued growth and economic prosperity. The top 100 Critical Occupation List is focused on job growth in the future and acknowledging the need for extended time frames to achieve higher levels of education. The methodologies for selecting occupations for inclusion in the top 100 Critical Occupation List are designed to emphasize the state’s desire to meet labor demands so that businesses and entrepreneurs can grow and prosper, and Oklahoma citizens can maintain wealth-generating occupations.

Yes. The Student Interest Form helps your preferred institution know you are interested in going back to school to complete a degree.  Once you submit your form, the Navigator from your preferred institution will get an email with your contact information and will contact you within three business days to assist you in getting back in school.  The form also allows us to keep an accurate count of all the students interested in our program, which helps us generate more interest and funding from business partners and local schools. This will help our program grow so we can give more scholarships and offer more supportive services to students who are at least 25 years old. 

The student interest form goes directly to the Reach Higher: DirectComplete Navigator at the college or university that you designate as your “preferred institution” in the student interest form on our website.  The Reach Higher: DirectComplete Navigator from your chosen college or university will contact you by phone or email within three business days.  If that school’s Navigator is out of the office for an extended amount of days, the Oklahoma State Regents’ Reach Higher: DirectComplete Navigator or Program Manager will contact you via email.  

The Navigator at your preferred college or university will help you request your transcripts for your previous college work and will help you get an appointment with an academic adviser at their school who will evaluate your credits to determine what degree programs you can finish within two to three years that match up with the 100 Critical Occupations list or have been requested by a specific employer.  Then you and your Navigator will discuss which business partners are seeking those degrees that you are close to and what scholarships or other financial assistance they are offering for completion in that degree program.