High school students across the state will now have another opportunity to go to college even if their parents are unable to financially support them. Chancellor Todd Shields announced a new scholarship program Wednesday (Sept. 27) providing free tuition to Arkansas State University for the majority of Arkansas families, the A-State Promise Plus.
“Arkansas State is committed to easing the financial burden for these hard-working families as they seek to send their children to college,” Shields said at an on-campus event announcing university achievements and the new scholarship plan. “A-State Promise Plus scholarship will bridge the tuition gap for Arkansas families with a household income of $70,000 or less.”
The median household income in Arkansas is $53,000, meaning the new scholarship approach helps open doors to families that might not have thought college was a possibility.
“A-State has a legacy of supporting first-generation students that stretches for decades, and we recognize that for families under $70,000, sending their children to college is a hurdle,” Shields added. “We want to make sure every young Arkansan that is qualified to go to college has that opportunity. We do not want cost to Arkansas families to limit the dreams of their children.”
The A-State Promise Plus is a last-dollar scholarship that will cover the remaining tuition cost once federal grants and the Arkansas Academic Challenge or Lottery Scholarship are applied to a qualified student’s account.
Along with eliminating tuition costs, the “Plus” in the program is a $2,500 housing scholarship to assist first-year students who live on campus. For students who retain the scholarship, the housing support increases from the sophomore through senior year for those who continue to live on campus.
Shields also announced a new enrollment management team and promotional themes for the upcoming academic year.
“One of the key elements of our new approach is a new look at scholarships,” Shields said. “Along with our traditional merit based scholarship program, we want to offer a new need-based program through A-State Promise Plus.”
Shields was joined by Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Calvin White Jr. in presenting the case for A-State as a top choice for students in the region. The two reviewed the recent record enrollment and other early fall semester achievements for A-State at the event open to all employees.
“Today is a celebration of what we have achieved so far with our record enrollment this fall, but also a commitment to the work it will take to elevate and evolve A-State into the best university it can be,” White said. “This university stands in a category by itself within our state as the only institution with a medical school, soon-to-be veterinary school, biosciences research institute, international campus and the largest graduate school in the state.”