AHECB approves new programs; higher ed remediation rates continue dropping 



Brandi Hinkle, Communications Coordinator
Arkansas Department of Higher Education

AHECB approves new programs; higher ed remediation rates continue dropping

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – At its regular meeting Friday, the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved an apprenticeship program -- the first of its kind in the state – in plumbing for the College of the Ouachitas that will allow students to receive an associate’s degree with on-the-job training and general education coursework.

In other business, the board approved the following new academic programs:
• Arkansas State University-Mountain Home, certificate or proficiency and technical certificate in automotive systems repair
• Arkansas Tech University, master of science in strength and conditioning studies and master of science in applied sociology
• Southern Arkansas University-Magnolia, bachelor of science in engineering

The board also approved 118 new degree certifications from 33 colleges and universities through its Institutional Certification Advisory Committee, which evaluates and monitors degree programs offered to Arkansans by out-of-state institutions.

Official fall 2013 enrollment numbers for all public and private institutions in the state were released, which showed a decrease of 2.4 percent from last fall but a five-year increase of 3.4 percent. While the four-year universities saw a slight year-to-year enrollment increase of .3 percent, two-year colleges, private institutions and nursing schools were down.

Remediation rates for all students that entered college or university in the fall were at 43.2 percent, down 47.8 from fall 2012. That number includes recent high school graduates and any returning student. In the last five years, the rate has fallen steadily from 55 percent in fall 2009. For those students who graduated high school in spring 2013 and entered college or university that fall, remediation rates were at 37.2 percent, down from 40 percent the year before. That rate has fallen from 45.4 in 2009.  Director Shane Broadway provided the board with an update on efforts to further reduce remediation that the department and the Arkansas Department of Education are currently working on as well.

New officers elected for the year are Kaneaster Hodges of Newport, chairman; Bob Crafton of Rogers, vice-chairman; and Sarah Argue of Little Rock, secretary.

The Arkansas Department of Higher Education is responsible for carrying out the policy directives of the 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 is responsible for distributing approximately $150 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.