In his latest column for Stephens Media, Steve Brawner explores the scholarship shortfall for many professional graduate students in Arkansas who have to attend out-of-state to get their degrees not offered in-state.

The column is a follow-up to a recent story about how scholarship funding is critically needed so that dentistry, veterinarian, and optometry students can obtain degrees not offered by any school in Arkansas.

From his column:

The shortage of Arkansas Health Education Grant funds should force the state to question its priorities, however, so that in the future, scholarship dollars go first where they are needed most.

Policymakers are beginning to focus on college completion instead of just college enrollment. Beebe has set a goal of doubling the state’s annual college graduates by 2025, and that’s translating into specific policies. Part of state funding for colleges and universities now is based on how many students they graduate. Legislators this past session, faced with declining lottery receipts, changed the way Academic Challenge Scholarships are awarded so that now students get higher amounts the longer they stay in school.

These are sensible, long-term solutions. In the meantime, legislators will have to find a way to adequately fund the Arkansas Health Education Grant Program. When a cow is sick, a farmer needs a vet and doesn’t care what school awarded the diploma. Or who paid for it.

Read more of his take at this link.

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