Arkansas wins National Grant to fund college completion efforts

LITTLE ROCK, AR – Governor Mike Beebe announced today that Arkansas has been awarded $1 million that will fund efforts to increase college completion. The grant, financed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is part of Complete College America’s Completion Innovation Challenge.

“Complete College America’s grant is well-timed to assist in our redoubled efforts to increase the number of college graduates in Arkansas,” Beebe said. “It recognizes that continued hard work will improve our workforce readiness and increase economic-development opportunities for our state.”

Thirty-three states competed for ten grants. As a winning state, Arkansas will have 18 months to implement innovative, high-impact, college-completion initiatives to enhance student success and close attainment gaps for traditionally underrepresented populations.

A national nonprofit organization focused solely on working with states to significantly boost college completion, CCA established the grant competition to inspire and enhance state efforts to encourage students to get their degrees.

“Governor Beebe gets it: doing more of the same will not boost student success or get Arkansas the additional college graduates it must have to be competitive,” said CCA President Stan Jones. “It’s long past time for bold innovation in higher education to remove unnecessary obstacles to success, fix broken policies that hold students back, speed achievement and redesign pathways to college graduation for the new majority of students who must balance work and school.”

The Arkansas Department of Higher Education will lead Arkansas’s involvement in the Completion Innovation Challenge, working to transform remediation and accelerate some certificate-and-degree programs.

Participating institutions in the Completion Innovation Challenge include Arkansas State University-Beebe, Arkansas Northeastern College in Blytheville, North Arkansas College in Harrison, Southern Arkansas University-Tech in East Camden, Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, University of Arkansas-Little Rock, University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff and the University of Central Arkansas in Conway.

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