FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEContact:
Arkansas Department of Higher Education
LITTLE ROCK, AR - The Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board (AHECB) adopted the Closing the Gap 2020: A Master Plan for Arkansas Higher Education as prepared in accordance with A.C.A. § 6-61-205.
On September 1, 2015, Governor Hutchinson addressed the Presidents Council to outline his priorities for Arkansas higher education, which required adoption of goals to improve educational attainment in our state. Closing the Gap 2020 Master Plan objective is a five year plan to increase post-secondary attainment rate in Arkansas to 60%; increasing from the current estimate of 43.4% by improving college readiness, reducing remedial enrollment, focusing on adults and underserved groups, and improving college affordability.
Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE) staff collaborated with representatives from institutions across the state to draft a master plan that addresses enrollment and attainment rates of targeted populations, completion and graduation rates of students, college affordability and the alignment of state resources with these goals. These collaborative consortia will continue working to implement the strategies necessary to achieve the goals enumerated in the master plan. For more information, visit http://www.adhe.edu/institutions/higher-education-master-plan/ .
The board approved the Prevention of Unplanned Pregnancies on Campuses. Act 943 of 2015 requires AHECB to develop an action plan to address the prevention of unplanned pregnancy and present to Legislative Council. ADHE worked with presidents, chancellors, legislators, professors, faculty, student affairs officers, nurses, college students, along with the Executive Director of the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas, and the National Campaign on Unplanned Pregnancies for Teens to develop an action plan to address unplanned pregnancies on campuses.
The work group surveyed Arkansas institutions, looked at neighboring states and national groups, and identified the following:
- The benefit of incorporating unplanned pregnancy prevention information for students into student orientation and with student advisors.
- Opportunities for current college students to reach out to younger teens to serve as mentors or role models of successful behaviors and healthy choices…
- Private or federal grants available to address the prevention of unplanned pregnancy and promote student success, including any partnerships necessary to compete for such grants.
- Collaborations with the Department of Health or federally qualified health centers to promote access to care.
- Development of a monitoring and evaluation tool in hopes of identifying trends and success stories of the work from the action plan and its deliverables.
- ADHE will be reporting annually to the Senate and House Education and Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committees.
The Arkansas Department of Higher Education is responsible for carrying out the policy directives of the AHECB, 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. For more information, visit www.adhe.edu.