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      Opportuntiy Plan Inc. giving students the opportunity to go to college

      Many people have a dream of obtaining a college degree. But for those who can not afford it, that dream is short-lived, and one Canyon organization is stepping in to give students a "hand up".

      Opportunity Plan, Inc. is a non-profit organization, run solely on donor money. Its purpose is to give financial aid to students from the Texas Panhandle and South Plains.

      "At one time we were a program just for West Texas A&M students but that is no longer the case. We help students as I said from the South Plains and Panhandle regions regardless of where they want to go to school if they fit our criteria," said Keith Brown, Executive Director of Opportunity Plan, Inc.

      That criteria is to first apply for financial aid at the institution you will attend.

      "You have that information and you know if you're going to get any scholarships or grants from the institution where you're planning on going. Then that's where Opportunity Plan, Inc. comes in and we sort of try to help you fill the holes. Those sharp kids that finish at the top of their class. They're going to get financial aid, they're going to get scholarships. And so we look for those students who've worked hard who've done well, but they may not be at the very top. And those are the students we try to help," said Brown.

      And they're helping in a big way. "So the $750,000 that we've announced recently is combination of those scholarship funds. That $750,000 is divided among about 350 students and those scholarships".

      Besides those scholarships, personalized financial aid, or students loans, Opportunity Plan, Inc. offers loan counseling as well to students and parents.

      "Traditional students they're not experienced enough to know about money. And it is a huge investment to go to school regardless of where you go to school," said Brown.

      Seniors and parents, the priority scholarship deadline is April first of each year.