The University of Arkansas at Little Rock is announcing its latest plan in a strategy it hopes will combat affordability and accessibility issues in higher education.
Students in the Little Rock School District who are members of the high school classes of 2017 through 2020 would sign a non-binding agreement guaranteeing a spot at the University. The arrangement would provide access to UALR advisers who help with the admission and financial aid process.
The announcement is similar to earlier agreements UALR established with the Pulaski and Jacksonville school districts.
UALR Chancellor Dr. Andrew Rogerson says it's an effort to provide an affordable pathway to higher education, especially for those who might not previously have seen college as realistic option.
“If you're prepared to stay at home, you're prepared to come and apply for all the help that you're eligible for, you are prepared to come and be a full-time student for four years, we can get you out with a free education. And that's before we even talk about scholarship money. We do not want you graduating with $30,000 worth of debt. That is the average across America right now,” said UALR Chancellor Andrew Rogerson.
He adds a recent decision to eliminate requiring that incoming freshman live in dorms should also make higher ed more financially attainable, since room and board cost nearly as much as tuition and fees.
“We've had slight falling in enrollment for six years. And that was exactly when we put the requirement to stay in the dorms into place. So you could look at that data and surmise that the drop off has been due to that policy,” said Rogerson.
No new money is being committed to scholarships in this particular arrangement, unlike the Jacksonville arrangement where a $25,000 gift was given to help with the effort.
Disclaimer: KUAR is licensed to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.