Act 148 funds colleges and universities based on a productivity model rather than enrollment.
The model itself is not included in the bill, rather it directs the Higher Education Coordinating Board to implement a model based on several priorities for the state.
Act 316 creates the Arkansas Future Grant Program This program would essentially pay for a student’s Associate’s Degree by providing up to $3,500 a year for 5 semesters. It is limited to Arkansas high school graduates or those who have lived in the state for the previous 3 years.
To qualify, students must be pursuing a STEM related or other high demand field of study. Students must also agree to 15 hours of community service per semester and work in the state for a minimum of three years upon completion of the degree.
The cost of this is covered by redirecting funds from two existing grant programs.
Act 315 provides an opportunity for students who did not qualify for the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship just out of high school. SB31 would allow those students to receive the scholarship in their second year of college as a traditional student if they meet the criteria their freshman year.
Previously, those students qualified as non-traditional students. However, there are more funds available for traditional students in the program.
The House also passed a bill that allows Arkansans to carry over tax deductible contributions to a tuition savings program from the previous year. If an individual makes more than the maximum tax deductible contributions in one year, Act 481 would allow that individual to deduct that amount in the tax return the following year.