FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Brandi Hinkle, Communications Coordinator
Arkansas Department of Higher Education
ADHE receives federal grant money for improving college access
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Just as the school year is ramping up, the Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE) has been notified of a renewal of $1.5 million in federal grant money for the College Access Challenge Grant, to reach underserved student populations such as those in lower-income counties.
“This is the fourth year ADHE has received this grant money,” said Shane Broadway, interim director of ADHE, “and each year we strive to make the programs more relevant to students and their parents.
“For the last three years, we’ve targeted most directly seniors in high school in promoting Say Go College Week, which leads up to the annual College Goal Sunday in February,” Broadway said. “On that day, Arkansas colleges open up and provide help in completing the free federal application for student aid in the spring before graduation.”
More than 300 high schools participated in Say Go College Week in 2011, officials said, and the fan base on Facebook grew to more than 10,000 over the school year. To cap it off, a record 3,500 Arkansans completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) over the course of College Goal Sunday weekend.
“Say Go College Weeks is still important, but this year we’ll be reaching out to students earlier in their high school career,” Broadway continued, “guiding them through the process of becoming college ready – focusing on grades, making smart choices about extra-curricular activities and taking the right coursework.”
ADHE works with Arkansas Department of Career Education college and career coaches – who are housed at two-year colleges across the state but work directly in the high schools alongside guidance counselors – to advise and help prepare students for career exploration, college planning and enrollment.
Over the last year, Governor Mike Beebe has clearly stated his goal of doubling the number of degree holders in the state by 2025. Last week he joined with the Workforce Cabinet to announce STEM Works, a program aimed at better preparing students for high-demand jobs and fields of study including science, technology, math and engineering by supporting efforts to overhaul teaching and learning in those disciplines in high school and post-secondary education.
“ADHE has had tremendous support from the governor and his Workforce Cabinet over the last few years,” Broadway said, “and we know his office is as pleased as we are with the opportunities this grant will continue to provide in helping students in Arkansas make the transition successfully from high school to college and then into the workforce.”
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 www.adhe.edu.