College Access

College Access

Why College Connection

  • Many high school students find the college enrollment process intimidating.

  • SouthArk is reaching out to area high school seniors so they are able to approach their higher education decisions grounded in knowledge, awareness of options and interests, and the confidence to succeed.

  • College Connection will provide collegiate academic and support services to area high school students.

  • College Connection will provide on-site, hands-on activities and events in order to boost student awareness of the benefits of going to college, which will increase the number of graduating seniors who enter an Arkansas college or university.

Benefits of College Connection


College Connection students receive the following on-campus services:

  • Access to college and help getting started

  • Assistance with financial aid (FAFSA) forms

  • Assistance with Academic Challenge Scholarship forms

  • Student life information

  • Career planning

  • Assistance with the college admission application

  • Orientation and advising


AR Works Career Coach Grant

Bradley County: Mary Keith                                                                      AR_worksLogojpeg

Chicot County: Brandon Bolden    

What is Arkansas Works?

Arkansas Works is a pilot program, which is funded the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services through TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) funding.  The program is designed to motivate and support Arkansas students from the 21 identified counties in their pursuit of career preparation and/ or a college degree. Students in the 8th – 12th grade will be served by Career Coaches, who have been assigned to their middle and high schools. The Arkansas Works program and Career Coaches will provide assistance and information for resources in the areas of: academic tutoring, career counseling, mentoring, financial guidance, and other supports necessary for career educational access and retention.  

Who Is Served?

As mandated by the grant, the Arkansas Works program and Career Coaches will provide services to all students, who attend middle or high school in the 21 identified counties. (Career Coaches may want to insert their specific assigned middle and high schools here).  At this time, students who attend school in the counties not covered by the grant, will not be eligible for services. Through success of the pilot program, the Arkansas Works grant may be extended to the remaining Arkansas counties and include all students in the state.

What Is the Cost of Services?

All services provided by the Arkansas Works’ Career Coaches will be free.  Students will not be expected to compensate Career Coaches for their services nor pay to attend Arkansas Works’ programs or activities.  

Why is Arkansas Works Important?

Arkansas cannot prosper in a global economy without a larger population of highly skilled and educated people who can handle demanding jobs and generate new ideas.  In order to foster and maintain a healthy economy as well as compete globally, Arkansas needs a strong, highly-educated, and competent workforce. To be on par with other states, Arkansas needs students, no matter their background, who are academically prepared and motivated to achieve success.

The 21 identified counties were chosen, because they are poorest counties in the state of Arkansas.  A large majority of the students served by the Arkansas Works grant will have household incomes below poverty level (see county data in grant).  Low-income students are being left behind. Only 38% of low-income high school seniors go straight to college as compared to 81% of their peers in the highest income quartile. Then, once enrolled in college, low-income students earn bachelor's degrees at a rate that is less than half of that of their high-income peers — 21% as compared with 45% (Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance (ACSFA), 2005).

The growing achievement gap between Arkansas and other states in is detrimental to our success.  Only 18% of Arkansans age 25 and order hold a Bachelor’s degree.  In comparison to other states, Arkansas is ranked 49th in the nation. There is a tremendous gap in educational attainment between Arkansas's students and their counterparts - despite similar talents and potential. While there are numerous talented and worthy students, relatively few are retained and complete higher education (Arkansas Department of Higher Education).



AR Works Forms

Reporting Forms

ACT Forms

ACT Program Surveys

ACT Report Forms





Preparing For The Future

icon College Planning  

icon Why Go To College?

icon Choose A School Carefully

icon College Cost Worksheet

icon College Application Guide

icon Campus Visit Tips

icon College Comparison Guide

icon Questions For Colleges

icon College Preperation Checklist

icon High School Course Planner

icon Junior Summer Checklist

icon Letter Of Recommendation

icon Senior Information Form

icon Senior Spring Checklist   

icon AR Smart Core (2010-13 grad)    

icon AR Smart Core (2014 grad)              

icon Do You Need Money for College?

icon AR Acad Challenge/Lottery Scholarship    

icon Keeping the Academic Challenge  

icon FAFSA Filing Time        

icon Steps To Federal Student Aid

icon Myths About Financial Aid

icon Grant Programs Fact Sheet   

icon What Information Do I need for FAFSA?

icon Am I Dependant or Independent?

icon Who Is My Parent - FAFSA?    

icon Don't Get Scammed!     

icon Suggestions for 1st Yr College Students

icon General Tips for College Students



Researching Colleges, Scholarships and More!


Provides general information on the cost of higher education in Arkansas and the various financial aid programs available through the Arkansas Department of Higher Education.

This federal student aid site can be used by students of all ages and by parents to find out what to do when preparing for college.

A website provided by Arkansas Next and the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, SayGoCollege provides information on Arkansas colleges and universities and on SayGoCollege week.

Outlines specific steps for students to take in each grade from middle school through high school; guides students on how to successfully prepare for the college admissions process.

college.gov is being built by the U.S. Department of Education in collaboration with students. This site is intended to be the go-to source for information and resources about planning, preparing and paying for postsecondary education (such as 2- or 4-year colleges and universities, and vocational or career schools). 

A site designed to help you explore career options, plan for college and locate financial aid sources.


Advice from ACT on what you need to do to prepare for college, how to apply to colleges and search for financial aid, and more.



Research colleges, careers, scholarships, and more!  This site is sponsored by the Princeton Review test preparation company.

Research different career and colleges, search for scholarships free, utilize a financial aid calculator, and get information on taking the SAT. 

Find everything relating to college, from the application process to blogs written by other college-bound students.



An Arkansas search engine providing information on 21 state and lottery funded scholarships, grants, and loan reimbursements.  Complete the YOUniversal application to begin your search.



Provides a collection of hundreds of scholarships and grants for which Arkansas students may be eligible.

An extensive, comprehensive website that covers everything from scholarships and grants to writing admittance essays.  This site includes information on minority scholarships and the NCAA/NCAA Clearing House.

A free search for private scholarships.  They ask for an address and phone number to provide to their sponsors.

A comprehensive presentation of aid sources, loans, etc.  It also contains free scholarship searches from several different databases.  Calculate potential college costs, loan payments, savings, and the expected family contribution (EFC).  Click on “Calculators” to begin.

This site is sponsored by Sallie Mae.  To use this service, you need an e-mail address.  Free!


Click on “Student,” then “Financial Need Estimator.”  Have your real/estimated tax and asset information available.

This free tool created by the U.S. Department of Education allows you to receive an estimate of your federal financial aid to help you plan for college costs.

AIE's calculators are designed to help determine the costs associated with higher education.  This page includes a loan calculator, in school budget worksheet, out of school budget worksheet, and an expected family contribution calculator.


Find information on the complete federal student aid process, including the online FAFSA form.  You must complete this form to apply for loans, grants, and campus work study programs.



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