Last week the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board got a chance to take a good look at the new Grand Prairie Center on Phillips Community College’s Stuttgart campus. The Board’s quarterly meeting Thursday and Friday also provided a forum to take a close look at Arkansas’ college-going rates and remediation rates.
Rick Jenkins, associate director for planning and accountability, told board members that the Arkansas college-going rate for public school graduates for the fall 2010 is 51.7 percent, up 4.8 percent from 2009. This rate includes only what are considered “traditional students,” those that go straight from a public high school to a public college in Arkansas. Students who attend a college in another state are not counted.
Arkansas County has a rate that is slightly higher than the state at 53.5 percent. In 2010, 121 of 126 graduates of public high schools in the county went to college. Rates in surrounding counties were a bit higher, 55.9 percent in Desha County and 57.8 in Prairie, although Monroe was lower at 46.7 percent.
The highest rates were Nevada County with a 68.1 percent rate (77 of 113 students) and Stone County with a 66.7 percent rate (66 of 99 students). Some of the lowest rates are in border counties, where a number of students probably go to college in other states. These include Miller County on the Texas border, whose rate of 20.3 percent (72 of 355 students) is the lowest in the state. Searcy County’s rate is the second lowest at 29 percent (29 of 100 students).