Success in College means Success for Arkansas


Success in College means Success for Arkansas

Governor Beebe has set the goal that Arkansas will double the number of college graduates by 2025. Currently, our state falls significantly behind the national average for post-secondary degree attainment. The Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation agrees with the Governor’s goal and based on what we have learned through our investments in higher education, we believe it is possible to attain.

From 2008 to 2011, Arkansas has made steady progress toward increasing degree attainment, growing the number of college graduates by nearly 2 percent during this period. Through our current and past investments in higher education, we have learned what it takes to continue this growth and meet the goal.

To meet the goal we must support:

  • Proactive advising and strong peer and faculty mentoring relationships that dramatically improve semester-to-semester retention rates
  • Data-driven decision making at the community college and university level that improves student outcomes
  • A system-level approach that connects pre-K through 12 to higher education to ensure that students are prepared to succeed

In June, the Foundation demonstrated its commitment to moving the needle on graduation rates in Arkansas by investing more than a half million dollars in:

  • Success strategies for marginalized boys and men of color at Big Brothers and Big Sisters of North Central Arkansas, the STAND Foundation, and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. With these grants, the Foundation has now supported the Marginalized Males Workforce Education Consortium with more than $1.8 million in grants since 2009.
  • Arkansas Baptist College’s participation in the Achieving the Dream initiative that helps colleges build student success systems and increase graduation rates through data-driven decision making. This grant brings total Foundation support of Achieving the Dream to more than $3.7 million.
  • Research by the Arkansas Community Colleges (ACC) on the Career Pathways program that has made it possible for thousands of low-income parents to move out of poverty. This grant brings total Foundation support of AATYC to more than $400 thousand dollars since 2010.

According to a recent study by the Lumina Foundation, by 2018, more than half of all Arkansas jobs will require post-secondary credentials. The data demonstrates that the future success of Arkansas starts with success for Arkansas students in college.

Become a part of moving the needle from poverty to prosperity for all Arkansans by making higher education a priority. Show your support and learn more by following WRF on Facebook and Twitter.