Arkansas ranks 49th in the number of residents holding bachelor degrees or higher, but a new federal, state, and local grant program administered by the state Department of Higher Education has some exciting plans to help address that shortcoming beginning early in 2009.
The highlight of the program will be Say Go College Week, Feb. 16-22, 2009. High schools across Arkansas are asked to participate in Say Go College Week by hosting daily activities during the week to encourage students to go to college.
Say Go College is a statewide campaign designed to educate students, parents, and the general public about the value of a post-secondary education. Schools will be provided with toolkits produced by a Little Rock advertising agency, Stone Ward. The toolkits will contain items such as posters, banners, and buttons promoting the value of a college experience.
The campus activities and media campaign are part of the two-year College Access Challenge Grant program which is designed to encourage underserved students to pursue a post secondary education.
Another activity marking Say Go College Week will be the selection of an online video contest winner among high school and college students. Contestants will compete for prizes awarded on the basis of the best-produced video promoting the value of a post secondary education.
The activities are designed to lead up to College Goal Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009.
Colleges and universities are encouraged to have activities on the respective campuses as well as to showcase the local facilities to high school groups during the week.
In another aspect of the grant program, four high schools located in the poorest counties of Arkansas will be selected to receive $25,000 each to improve upon the academic preparation activities for students. This portion of the grant is limited to only schools located in the 20 "Tier Four" counties, which are rated as the poorest counties in Arkansas.
The four recipient schools are required to partner with a local Chamber of Commerce or similar non-profit organization and an institution of Higher Education to improve ACT and/or SAT preparation. High schools in the 20 Tier Four counties have been invited to apply for the $25,000 grant.
The Tier Four counties include: Ashley, Chicot, Clay, Cross, Dallas, Desha, Jackson, Lafayette, Lawrence, Lee, Lincoln, Mississippi, Monroe, Newton, Phillips, Poinsett, Randolph, Sharp, St. Francis, and Woodruff.
In addition another goal of the grant is to improve college going counseling advice given to students in the Tier Four counties. Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE) has a committee working on a plan to assist school counselors in the involved counties.
For more information on Say Go College Week or the College Access Challenge Grant program, contact Lawrence ``Larry’’ Graves at firstname.lastname@example.org or 501-371-2065.