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$263,000 DBP grant to help establish Great River Promise college scholarship
HELENA-WEST HELENA —
A $263,000 3-year matching Delta Bridge Project grant has established the Great River Promise college scholarship program for Phillips County high school graduates.
The Great Rivers Promise will provide funding for Phillips County high school graduates who have exhausted all other scholarship and financial aid programs such as federal Pell grants and the Arkansas Academic Challenging Scholarships first to attend Phillips Community College. Loans are excluded.
The Great River Promise will pay the difference between what the students receive in scholarships and financial aid and the cost of tuition and mandatory fees at PC.
To qualify for a Great Rivers Promise scholarship, a student must attend four years at any Phillips County high school. They must graduate with a high school diploma. They must be accepted as a PC student and enroll in the fall semester following graduation. The student must have had a 95 percent attendance and punctuality record over the four years of high school and have no drug or drunken driving offenses. Once accepted at PC, the students must enroll for a minimum of 15 credit hours per semester and maintain a 2.0 grade point average.
Phillips College has committed to raise $250,000 to match the DBP grant and create a $500,000 Great River Promise Endowment to guarantee sustainable program funding. The PCC Foundation obtained a federal Title III grant to help fund the scholarship program. Available interest from the foundation’s $674,000 Title III Endowment and the Great River Endowment will be used to fund Great River Promise scholarships.
PCCUA Chancellor Dr. Steven Murray says the Great Rivers Promise not only addresses the financial need of current and prospective college students but also motivates K-12 students to achieve at all grade levels.
“The Great River Promise tells our young people from a young age that college is a possibility for them, something they should be aiming for,” said Murray.
A 2008 Community College Survey of Student Engagement of PC students revealed that 64 percent of those participating in the survey were somewhat likely, likely, or very likely to drop out of PCV because of lack of finances. The University of Texas conducted the CCSSE.
The Great River Promise addresses Strategic goal Three of the DBP’s Strategic Community Plan, which seeks to “initiate programs designed specifically to improve literacy and mathematics aptitudes for Phillips County students.”
“Southern Bancorp strongly believes that cost alone should not be a barrier to students furthering their education,” stated Phil Baldwin, Southern Bancorp president and CEO. “The Great River Promise will play a critical role in helping Phillips County high school graduates secure a two-year degree and potentially go on to earn a four-year degree.”
More information about the Great River Promise is available at www.ppcua.edu.