ADHE federal grant renewed for students with families, financial need 


Brandi Hinkle

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE) has received a $13 million grant renewal for the new academic year for the Career Pathways Initiative (CPI), a program that provides assistance to low-income parents seeking certificates and degrees at the state’s two-year colleges.

The grant comes from federal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families funds as a block grant to Arkansas Department of Workforce Services and ADHE, which is then provided as sub-grants to help cover costs of tuition and books, childcare and transportation for qualifying students at 25 colleges and technical sites across the state.

It is limited to individuals who are primary guardians of a child 21 or younger that meets financial need requirements, and individuals can apply for enrollment at any of the state’s 22 two-year colleges. CPI students must enroll in training programs for occupations identified as high-demand and high-wage, but it also helps students who didn’t graduate from high school receive the General Equivalency Diploma (GED).

In its seventh year, grant totals have surpassed $70,000,000 and served 21,000 students who have earned almost 19,000 certificates and degrees.

“The Career Pathways Initiative has been identified as one of the most promising programs in higher education by the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems,” said Shane Broadway, ADHE interim director, “and has assisted thousands of students in Arkansas who otherwise might be able to go to college.”

The average age of students in the CPI program is 32 and 58 percent are single parents, officials said, with 90 percent of participants being female. About half of the students complete programs in health science studies.

“Our Career Pathways Initiative is the only program of its kind in the country that operates solely with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families funding,” said Dr. Karon Rosa, CPI program director. “In addition to receiving the Innovative Community Development Program Award from the Arkansas Community Development Society, CPI has been featured in national publications and was recently presented as a model to Georgia legislators.”

Contact your local two-year college for more information about the CPI program, visit or call 1-866-400-7284.

The ADHE is responsible for carrying out the policy directives of the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board (AHECB), approving and reviewing college and university academic programs and developing funding recommendations for the state’s 11 public universities and 22 public two-year colleges as well as several other post-secondary entities.

In addition, the agency distributes approximately $170 million annually from state revenues and lottery funds intended to ease the financial burden of students seeking an education beyond high school. For more information, visit