JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – The Arkansas Department of Higher Education found that more ASU-Jonesboro students retained their lottery-funded scholarships than any other public university in the state. More than 66 percent of ASU students renewed their Academic Challenge Scholarship for 2011. Dan Howard, the university's interim chancellor, says the numbers are not really surprising.
"We are delighted that approximately 70 percent of those students who participated (in the lottery scholarship) came back to us, and that's the highest rate of all institutions in the state," Howard said.
He went on to congratulate the 2,205 students overall at ASU-Jonesboro who renewed their lottery-funded scholarship for Fall 2011. Howard says their classroom performance reflects well on the Red Wolves.
"The students who come here are serious students, and they're given a world-class educational environment with a tremendous amount of personalized attention and support," he added.
The ASU retention rate surpasses the 63 percent state average for public four-year institutions. Howard says his students meet the scholarship's ACT and GPA requirements upon admission to the university, so they are more likely to keep up their grades and stay in school.
"It's also a testament to the first-class faculty members and dedicated support staff that we have at the university that have worked with the students, have challenged them and have provided them with a great deal of support," Howard said.
He says the lottery-funded scholarships offer several advantages to students all across the state, mainly their ability to help people stay focused on school.
"One of the things that it does is it discourages students from working too much outside the university on part-time jobs," he said.
Instead of working 20 to 40 hours a week, the students can use scholarship money to fund their education and lower their debt burden upon graduation. Howard expects this to help ASU meet the governor's goal of doubling the number of college graduates by the year 2025.
"We are directly on target to achieving that goal," Howard said.
ASU-Jonesboro also had the fewest students to not qualify for scholarship renewal among the state's four-year universities.