Arkadelphia Promise Tops $1,000,000 in Scholarships Awarded to Local Students
Jason Jones

Since its inception in the fall of 2010, the Arkadelphia Promise has awarded $1,175,000.00 in scholarship money to Arkadelphia High School graduates in hopes of making college a reality for all local students. Executive Director Jason Jones is pleased to announce that the Arkadelphia Promise, funded by Southern Bancorp and the Ross Foundation, has provided financial aid for a total of 718 college semesters and awarded an average of $3,342.62 per year to students.

The Arkadelphia High School Class of 2011 was the first to receive financial assistance from the Arkadelphia Promise. During the Fall 2014 semester, four Arkadelphia High School classes had graduated and were given the opportunity to apply for the Arkadelphia Promise Scholarship.

“It’s important to remember that this has been a ‘ramping up’ process to get us to the point where we now have four classes of college students enrolled and receiving assistance from the Arkadelphia Promise,” Jones said. “Now that we are at this point, we will be investing about $500,000 per year in our student’s pursuit of college degrees.”

Arkadelphia students have attended 45 different colleges and universities in 10 states ranging from California to New York, including prestigious schools such as the University of Chicago, Baylor University and Belmont University. The two biggest beneficiaries of the Arkadelphia Promise are Henderson State University and Ouachita Baptist University. Out of all five graduating classes to receive the benefit of the Arkadelphia Promise, 44 percent of students have started school at Henderson and 14 percent have started at Ouachita. The University of Arkansas, U.C.A, Arkansas State University and College of the Ouachita’s have about 20 percent of the Arkadelphia High School graduates over the last 5 years. Almost 6 percent of Arkadelphia Promise recipients have chosen to attend college out of state.

Jones recently announced that the retention rate for 2014 AHS graduates has increased to 87.1 percent, which is 24.2 percent higher than the highest average in Arkansas for the past five years. In the past four years, the retention rates have remained at least 10 percent higher than the state average.

The primary goal of the Arkadelphia Promise is “to increase the college-going rate for local students, reduce the number of students dropping out of college for financial reasons and provide for a more educated workforce.”

The Arkadelphia Promise was first announced on Nov. 16, 2010. For more information about the Arkadelphia Promise, you may visit arkadelphiapromise.com or contact Jones at jjones@arkadelphiapromise.com.