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Friday, August 1, 2008 11:27 PM CDT

LITTLE ROCK — Students at three historically black colleges and universities in the state, including the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, are eligible for $115,000 in scholarships under a program announced Friday.

The scholarships and funding were approved by the Legislature in 2007. Sen. Tracy Steele, D-North Little Rock, sponsor of the measure, said he plans to work to get legislation passed next session to extend the program.

“We hope this program will be continuous,” the lawmaker said after a news conference announcing the scholarships at Philander Smith College.

Attending the event and speaking to a crowd of more than 50 people were Philander Smith President Walter Kimbrough, Arkansas Baptist College President Fitz Hill and University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Chancellor Lawrence Davis.

“The scholarship support is needed, it is sorely needed,” said the UAPB chancellor, adding that about 1,500 students hoping to return to the Pine Bluff university this fall have outstanding financial issues with the school that they must clear up before they can enroll.

“They range from a broad spectrum of responsibilities and these students do not need to be lost, because when you lose them you are losing your future,” Davis said.

Davis went on to reference recent comments by Rep. Donna Hutchinson, R-Bella Vista, who suggested that four-year universities offering remediation courses should consider stopping or be converted to two-year community col-

Please see SCHOOLS on 3A


“Now some people talk about the cost of education and what it costs to remediate,” he said. “I might remind you that we spend a lot of money on an institution that incarcerates people, a whole lot of money, and it turns out that when the state is done with them they come right back.”

Kimbrough said rising gasoline prices and the struggling economy have made it difficult for many students to go to school.

“There are people struggling, asking ’How am I going to afford this year?’” he said.

Under the program, new or current students at the three historically black colleges and universities can apply for scholarships of $1,000, $2,500 or $5,000, Steele said, adding applicants must write a 500-word essay on the importance of historically black universities and colleges in Arkansas. The scholarships are open to both traditional and nontraditional students.

Twenty-five $1,000 scholarships will be available at Philander Smith and Arkansas Baptist, and 35 at UAPB. Two $2,000 scholarships and one $5,000 scholarship also will be available at each of the three schools.

Applications will be available Monday on the Arkansas Department of Higher Education’s Web site. The deadline to apply is Aug. 31.

The scholarship fund was named for Ellen Carpenter, a 1954 Philander Smith graduate and community activist.

“Our children are not going to get anywhere in this day and age if they don’t have a good education,” the 92-year-old woman told the crowd. “We’ve got to do something for our race as a whole. This is just a beginning.”

Carpenter’s daughter, also a graduate of Philander Smith, stood by her as she gave her speech. Two of Carpenter’s grandsons, students at UAPB, and a granddaughter, who attends Philander Smith, also attended the event.
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Sunday, August 3rd 2008 at 6:14PM
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