UAPB and SEARK launch dual-degree program

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UAPB Chancellor Laurence B. Alexander and SEARK President Steven Bloomberg sign the memorandum of understanding (MOU) to commemorate the Associates to Bachelors (A2B) Program. Photo by Richard Redus

Among First in Arkansas to Create Partnership to Increase Student Success

Today the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) and Southeast Arkansas College (SEARK) officially launched a collaborative degree program known as Associate to Bachelors, or A2B. The program allows students to earn both an Associate degree at SEARK and a Bachelor’s degree at UAPB, concurrently. Dr. Laurence B. Alexander, UAPB chancellor, and SEARK President Steven Bloomberg signed the official memorandum of understanding in a ceremony at UAPB’s STEM Conference Center.

“This historic partnership between UAPB and SEARK creates better opportunities for students to access higher education,” said Chancellor Alexander. “I am thrilled to have signed this MOU and to assist more Arkansans in building successful futures for themselves. By partnering with SEARK, we are also strengthening the Pine Buff community and the southeast region of the state.”

“I’m excited about this agreement. I thank Chancellor Alexander and everyone involved for recognizing and respecting the hard work our students are doing at SEARK, and creating a seamless transition to a four-year degree,” said President Bloomberg. “We are committed to working together with our communities and other educational institutions to ensure students have the best possible pathway to success.”

The agreement allows students to enroll fulltime and earn a minimum of 12 credit hours — nine hours at SEARK and three at UAPB — each semester.  Once a student has begun earning 30 hours, this is known as the Transition Period, and he or she may live on the UAPB campus and take advantage of the university’s meal plan. Upon successful completion of 60 hours — 48 hours at SEARK and 12 at UAPB — with a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher, he or she may receive an Associate degree. The concurrent enrollment empowers students to make a seamless transfer between SEARK and UAPB.

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Hayley Henderson, the first A2B student that will begin this fall, shares her excitement about the initiative with the audience. Photo by Richard Redus

Haley Henderson, the first A2B student, shared excitement about her enrollment during Wednesday’s ceremony. Henderson, who passed the GED® in May to earn her Arkansas High School Diploma, said she wanted to start at SEARK because of the smaller environment before enrolling at UAPB. “This is a dream come true. I want to provide a more stable life for myself and my family and I know getting a degree is the best way to do that,” Henderson said. “I am happy to have this program, so I know I will not have to take the same classes over again when I go to UAPB.”

Students may enroll in any two-year degree transfer program at SEARK and any undergraduate program at UAPB. Students enrolled in the A2B program will also enjoy the eligibility and privileges offered at both colleges, including tutoring and academic skills support, library access and attendance at sporting events. Tuition, room and board rates for each of the institutions apply, and financial aid will be processed according to federal guidelines.

Prospective students may contact Michael Jones at UAPB at 870-575-8373 or jonesmal@uapb.edu or Gina Teel at SEARK at 870.543.5961 or gteel@seark.edu.

About University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) is an 1890 Land-Grant HBCU with a diverse student population, competitive degree offerings, and stellar faculty. For more than 140 years, UAPB has worked to create an environment that inculcates learning, growth “and productivity while affording a basic need to its students – a chance to advance. UAPB offers Certificate and Associates degree programs, more than thirty Undergraduate programs, Master’s degree programs and a Doctorate program in Aquaculture/Fisheries. Students are active in more than 100 organizations, an internationally renowned Vesper Choir, Marching Band, Concert Bands, Wind Symphony, nationally recognized debate team, award-winning theater department, and accomplished athletic program.

 About Southeast Arkansas College

Established in 1991 by Act 1244 of the 78th General Assembly of the State of Arkansas, Southeast Arkansas College provides a comprehensive community college education and services, with an emphasis on technical education and workforce development, for the citizens of Jefferson, Cleveland, Desha, Drew, Grant and Lincoln counties. These educational programs and services include:  technical career education, workforce development, university transfer education, general education, adult education, continuing education, and community services.

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