Higher education notebook
UA, two groups to aid Marshallese savings
A university and two nonprofit groups have partnered with the Arkansas 529 College Investing Plan in an effort to help the Marshallese and Pacific Islander communities in Northwest Arkansas.
The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville School of Social Work is teaming up with the Arkansas Coalition of Marshallese and the Economic Opportunity Agency on the Child Savings Account Program, which will give $100 in seed money to 200 Marshallese children for an education savings account, according to a news release from the state treasurer’s office. The treasurer’s office operates the state 529 plan program.
The United Way of Northwest Arkansas and the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation donated the money for the program, the release states. The funds — which are available for children from birth to age 18 — can be used for higher education or job training costs, the release states. Families are eligible to add another $100 to the savings account if they attend financial education classes or sign up for direct deposit, the release states.
ASU administrator adds to job duties
An Arkansas State University administrator has taken on a new role.
Jill Simons is moving from assistant vice chancellor for undergraduate studies to associate vice chancellor for retention and completion, the university said in a news release. She will continue her old duties in the new position, which includes a pay raise from $117,300 to $120,300, the university said.
“With the chancellor’s new initiative to increase our student retention rates, Dr. Simons was the perfect choice to head up the new commission,” ASU Provost Lynita Cooksey said in a statement. “She was our leader in many areas that are components of this initiative, and by promoting her to become our designated campus point person we can keep a continued focus on student success.”
In her new role, Simons will lead Chancellor Kelly Damphousse’s Commission on Completion, which seeks to increase the university’s retention and graduation rates. She will also oversee student academic concerns, review academic policies related to student completion and serve as the liaison for student programming for the provost, the news release states.
First in family aided by school’s program
Henderson State University is working with a nonprofit organization to help prospective and current low-income, first-generation college students.
The Arkadelphia school has partnered with Strive for College to help the 52 percent of undergraduate students who are the first in their families to go to college, the university said. The collaboration — which costs $1,500 annually — includes peer learning communities, in which colleges can share best practices and successful initiatives for recruiting and retaining first-generation students, and a virtual mentoring program that will connect prospective students with mentors for one-to-one guidance for admissions and financial aid processes, the university said.
The university is working with alumni and the campus community to be mentors.
“We often take for granted that students understand the transition from high school to college and know the steps they need to take to successfully complete a degree,” said Brett Powell, the university’s vice president for finance and administration. “For first-generation college students, this is often not the case because they do not have family members to guide them.”
The partnership is the latest initiative the university is undertaking to help all students, especially those who are underrepresented or first-generation.