Arkansas has been awarded a $1 million grant that will fund efforts to increase college completion. The grant, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is a part of Complete College America's Completion Innovation Challenge.
"Complete College America's grant is well-timed to assist in our redoubled efforts to increase the number of college graduates in Arkansas," Gov. Mike Beebe stated in a release. "It recognizes that continued hard work will improve our workforce readiness and increase economic-development opportunities for our state."
Thirty-three states competed for ten grants. As a winning state, Arkansas will have 18 months to implement innovative, high-impact, college-completion initiatives to enhance student success and close attainment gaps for traditionally underrepresented populations.
A national nonprofit organization focused solely on working with states to significantly boost college completion, CCA established the grant competition to inspire and enhance state efforts to encourage students to get their degrees.
The Arkansas Department of Higher Education will lead Arkansas's involvement in the Completion Innovation Challenge, working to transform remediation and accelerate some certificate-and-degree programs, according to a release from the Governor’s Office. Other participating institutions in the Completion Innovation Challenge include Arkansas State University-Beebe, Arkansas Northeastern College in Blytheville, North Arkansas College in Harrison, and Southern Arkansas University-Tech in East Camden, Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, University of Arkansas-Little Rock, and University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff.