College-going rate increases by 1.4 percent; AHECB approves new academic programs 



Brandi Hinkle, Communications Coordinator
Arkansas Department of Higher Education

College-going rate up 1.4 percent; AHECB approves several new programs

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved Friday the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine program offered by the New York Institute of Technology on the campus of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. The program will enroll up to 115 students per year beginning in August 2016.

The Coordinating Board granted approval for institutional planning and development for the establishment of  a new medical school in Fort Smith known as the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine. Once the College has AHECB final approval, the first students will enroll in the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine beginning in August 2016.

Officials from both programs were on hand to address the need that more doctors of osteopathic medicine would fill in the state for general practitioners.

Other new programs approved by the board:
* Arkansas State University-Mountain Home, Technical Certificate in Hospitality Management
* Arkansas State University-Jonesboro, Associate of Applied Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant and Doctor of Occupational Therapy

The board also approved a change in role and scope for Arkansas Tech University, which will begin offering a doctor of education in school leadership.

The college-going rate for Arkansas public school students in Fall 2013 was up 1.4 percent to 54.3 percent, according to data compiled by Arkansas Department of Higher Education staff. The state has showed steady growth from 46.9 percent in Fall 2009. Nationally, the college-going rate has dropped from 70.1 percent to 66.2 percent during that same time period.

The board approved a bond issue for Arkansas Tech University not to exceed $6 million for up to 30 years for construction of an allied health building and other campus improvements. A bond issue not to exceed $3 million for 20 years was also approved for NorthWest Arkansas Community College to build a career center in Springdale.

In other finance committee business, the board approved personal services recommendations for all campuses for the upcoming biennium, with an increase of 3.9 percent in non-classified positions across all state campuses. Additionally, funding recommendations of an additional $143.8 million based on the needs of each campus as presented by the executive staff of the ADHE were approved by the board. The additional dollars would bring all campuses to 75 percent of need, should money be available from general revenue, officials said.

ADHE 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