Arkadelphia News

Arkadelphia Promise: 2021 class records highest retention rate in program history

Arkadelphia Promise scholarship recipients from the Arkadelphia High School class of 2021 recorded the highest freshman-to-sophomore retention rate in the history of the scholarship program dating back to 2011.

Numbers show that 84.4% of AHS graduates who entered college as freshman in the fall of 2021 returned for their sophomore year in 2022-23. That is 16 percentage points above the national average of 68% and 14 points over the Arkansas average of 70%.

In the 11-year history of the Arkadelphia Promise, the retention rate is around an average of 77%.

“The retention numbers look great,” said Arkadelphia Promise Executive Director Jason Jones. “They’re even better when you factor in that the college-going rate of AHS students is always above the state and national averages. The Arkadelphia Promise is investing about $500,000 a year in these students and we’re proud to see our students starting and staying in college.”

Jones also believes that there is an immediate benefit to the local economy in Arkadelphia, with students who attend either Henderson State University or Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia helping keep around 50% of the scholarship money in the community.

The Arkadelphia Promise provides tuition dollars for graduates of Arkadelphia High School who attend two-year or four-year universities as well as trade schools anywhere in the country. Over the life of the program, the Arkadelphia Promise has provided $4.5 million in scholarship money to Arkadelphia High School graduates. For more information on the Arkadelphia Promise, visit