Juniors and seniors at Jacksonville High School learned today about a new early-commitment program with the University of Arkansas at Little Rock that will give students a more affordable college education and a guaranteed seat in college.
The students and many of their parents attended a 9:30 a.m. assembly in the school’s gymnasium to hear about the Jacksonville Promise, a collaborative program at Jacksonville High that seeks to improve their college readiness and guarantees unconditional acceptance to UALR if they successfully complete the following:
- Complete the college preparatory core at the time of graduation from high school
- Achieve an ACT composite score of at least a 19 or a combined critical reading/math SAT score of at least 910
- Have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5
The contract is non-binding, and students can opt to attend any college or university after graduation. Jacksonville Promise is open to JHS students in the graduating classes of 2017 through 2020.
At the assembly, Larry Wilson, CEO of Arkansas Bank and Trust of Jacksonville, announced a gift of $25,000 from his family's Wilson Charitable Trust to provide financial support to Jacksonville Promise students in their freshman year at UALR.
"Students and parents often have inadequate information about costs and options for funding a college education," UALR Chancellor Andrew Rogerson said. “The Jacksonville Promise program informs and supports Jacksonville students. UA Little Rock will ensure they have the information and support they need to navigate college admission and financial aid applications."
“Most importantly, we want to convey to these students, and all students in central Arkansas, that a college degree is attainable and affordable if they stay close to home. A university education for our regional students is vital to our mission as a metropolitan university. We are gratified that the Jacksonville North Pulaski School District has partnered with us to equip students to achieve their dreams."
“Access and opportunity to postsecondary education will allow our students to realize their hopes and dreams,” said Superintendent Tony Wood. “Collaboration with UALR involves connections among faculty, staff, administrators and students. It also involves relationships with business and industry and other organizations that share a common purpose—preparing our students for the future.”
When students and parents sign the contract, they will have the option to participate in numerous services to make their pathway to college easier, including:
- Group and personalized workshops for parents and students to help them complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application, outline a financial aid package, and learn about scholarships
- Student experience and orientation days at UALR to make their transition from high school to college easier
- Writing and math tutoring
- ACT preparation
- Placement tests for college admission
- A hotline to UALR for students, parents, and teachers
- Concurrent academic enrollment to receive college credit while in high school and opportunity for earlier college degree completion
- Participation in the Dr. Charles W. Donaldson Scholars Academy and/or the TRIO Talent Search program if eligible
- Job mentoring with UALR alumni
- Special recognition as a Jacksonville Promise graduate