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Arkansas colleges join forces for new degree program

Daniel Breen
University of Arkansas System President Donald Bobbitt delivers remarks at the UA System Office in Little Rock Tuesday alongside Peggy Doss, chancellor of the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

Two institutions of higher education are partnering to offer a new degree program to students in central Arkansas.

Officials with the University of Arkansas at Monticello on Tuesday announced the partnership with National Park College. Starting next fall, students at NPC’s Hot Springs campus will be able to earn credits for a bachelor’s degree of business administration.

Speaking at the University of Arkansas System Office in Little Rock, UAM Chancellor Peggy Doss said the new partnership has many benefits, especially for students.

“It’s also an opportunity for collaboration that boosts academic offerings for institutions that may not be able to do that on their own,” Doss said. “It’s also an opportunity that we truly begin to define new pathways in higher education, where we can serve students in ways we’ve never served them before. And to do so in such a way that’s cost-effective.”

Students with at least 55 credit hours and greater than a 2.5 grade point average will also be eligible for a $3,000 Nighthawk Transfer Scholarship to help pay for the degree.

National Park College President John Hogan says he envisions the partnership to have a great impact on the Hot Springs community.

“There’s a need for qualified folks to work in business and business administration and management and marketing and human resources. [We’re] trying to maintain the population in our community of educated folks and keep them close to home so they can generate a higher salary and better quality of life for everybody,” Hogan said. “I think the impact is going to be significant, economically, workforce-wise, social capital-wise, in every way.”

Hogan says business degrees are in high demand among his students. But, he says more partnerships could be in the works at the community college.

“Our success measure is always the completion of our students, their success. We’re having discussions about additional disciplines and I think there’s demand for that. Our students have asked us for additional disciplines, so stand by,” he said.

Hogan says students who graduate from the four-year program will receive both an associate’s degree from National Park College and a bachelor’s from UAM, with all coursework being completed at the NPC campus in Hot Springs.

Classes for the degree program will begin next fall.

Daniel Breen is a Little Rock-based reporter, anchor and producer for KUAR.