|Dr. Dan F. Bakke, president of Pulaski Technical College, listens as Gov. Mike Beebe explains the Higher Education Opportunities Grant during a news conference Tuesday in the Campus Center Grand Hall.|
Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe on Tuesday kicked off a statewide campaign to promote a new need-based grant program that will help more high school graduates afford college.
The announcement was made Tuesday during a news conference in Pulaski Tech's Campus Center Grand Hall attended by faculty, staff students, media and representatives from the Arkansas Department of Higher Education.
The Higher Education Opportunities Grant is the state's first financial assistance program for students who are eligible for college admission, have financial need but may not have the grades to qualify for other academic scholarship programs.
Gov. Beebe acknowledged that not all students make good grades in high school and score well on the ACT, but they are still talented and have the ability to succeed in college. They just don't have the money.
"What we tried to do was devise a program to fit that niche," he said.
The grant provides up to $1,000 a year per academic year for recent high school graduates who enroll in college full-time and up to $500 per academic year for part-time students. The grant doesn't have to be repair and can be combined with other aid programs, such as the federal Pell grant.
To be eligible, a student must:
- Be a recent high school graduate of an Arkansas high school or have a GED
- Pledge to remain drug-free
- Be a U.S. citizen
- Be an Arkansas resident
- Meet income requirements ($25,000 or less annually for a family with one dependent child)
The deadline for this fall's incoming freshmen to apply for the grant is Oct. 1.
Students who receive the grant must maintain a 2.0 grade-point average or better and be enrolled in an undergraduate course of study that leads to an associate or bachelor's degree. Grant recipients can attend any two-year or four-year college or university in the state.
The Opportunities Grant Programs was a part of Beebe's legislative package. House Bill 2299 was signed into law as Act 1030 of 2007, and the General Assembly appropriated $7.2 million for 2007-08 and $11.2 million for 2008-09.
To encourage students and their parents to apply for the grants, the Department of Higher Education launched the GO! Opportunities Grant Campaign. During the next month, ads about the program will run on television and radio stations. High school counselors and college financial aid officers will have information available to students, and Gov. Beebe will spend time promoting the program throughout the state.
For more information about the grant, visit the Arkansas Department of Higher Education Web site at www.adhe.edu or call 1-8700-54-STUDY.