Arkansas Academic Challenge Grants Survive at JBU

Siloam Springs, Ark (January 7, 2002) — When the Arkansas Department of Higher Education announced that funds were no longer available for its Arkansas Challenge Grant, John Brown University stepped up to the plate. Effective immediately, the private Christian university in northwest Arkansas will award $2,500 on a first-come, first-served basis to high school graduates who meet the same eligibility requirements mandated by the state.

Don Crandall, JBU’s Vice-President of Enrollment Management says, “JBU really values students from Arkansas. Since the news that the state can no longer afford to fund this important grant, we’ve been brainstorming to see how the university can respond to this critical need.” The replacement – the JBU Challenge Grant – is worth $2,500 and will be awarded to students who complete the precollegiate core curriculum, have the required grade point average in those courses, achieve a minimum of 19 on the ACT and demonstrate financial need. March 1 is the cut-off date for applications. Funds are limited, so qualifying students are encouraged to apply early.

Applicants must go through the normal application process for the Arkansas Challenge Grant. “Even though funding is not there for 2002 high school graduates, proceed as if it were,” Crandall says. Applications made to the Arkansas Department of Higher Education will indicate whether a student would qualify for the Arkansas Challenge Grant. Once JBU knows that the student meets the eligibility criteria, JBU will award the grant. Crandall says that if state funding becomes available again in the future, Arkansas will pick up the JBU Challenge Grant, and the student will already be in the system.

“We want to do our share to keep Arkansas’ brightest and best students here at home and help lighten the burden on families hardest hit by the loss of funding from the state,” says Crandall. Of the 1, 675 students attending JBU, approximately 30% are from Arkansas. Crandall says that the state’s challenge grant has helped equalize the cost of private versus public higher education and has allowed JBU to recruit some great students from across the state. The university wants that to continue and feels that by providing a safety net for families, the school can continue to attract high academic achievers.

JBU also awards matching grants for the Arkansas State Grant. Through this program eligible high school students can get up to $600 from the state, then receive a matching award from the university.

“A lot of people don’t realize how hard JBU works to make attending here possible,” says Crandall, “Last year 80% of JBU students received aid. We’re fortunate to be blessed with a large endowment, and the university’s philosophy is that any qualified student should be able to attend. JBU’s new Challenge Grant simply enables us to help many students who think they might not otherwise be able to afford a private university education.”

John Brown University is a private university with an enrollment of more than 1,600 students from 46 states and 30 countries. JBU is a member of the Arkansas Independent Colleges and Universities and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.