Debt-Free Semester Offered to Arkansas Baptist College Students

The HBCU is preparing for in-person learning in the fall.

2021 Arkansas Baptist College graduates

Arkansas Baptist College is offering the first 500 incoming freshman and returning students the opportunity to attend the 2021 fall semester at no cost. To be eligible, students must complete the admissions process as well as the 2021-2022 FASFA, and register for classes at ABC’s main campus. 

The initiative is being supported through student relief appropriations on the federal and state level, according to a press release. This includes work by Arkansas Senator Linda Chesterfield who sponsored legislation earlier this year securing $1 million in scholarships for the state’s HBCUs. 

“We want all of our students to take advantage of this amazing offer,” president Carlos Clark said. “Even though we have the lowest tuition of a private, four-year institution in the state, the cost of higher education is still a considerable sacrifice for our students and their families. This opportunity allows us to further our mission of producing productive citizens and holding student debt to a minimum.”  

Nationally, Black students average 46 percent higher debt than their white counterparts upon graduation, according to the Brookings Institute.

Arkansas Baptist College is preparing for in-person learning and a full athletic schedule as a new member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics in the fall. Students that have acquired one of the COVID-19 vaccinations are asked to bring official verification or they will be subject to immediate and subsequent testing while on campus. 

All campus buildings have undergone regular and rigorous cleaning to ensure the safest environment possible, according to officials. Additionally, this aid is available to local students that wish to commute and nontraditional learners in the adult degree completion program. Adult students less than 18 credit hours short of their degree could graduate without any additional student debt.

“We cannot thank Sen. Chesterfield enough for her loyal and continuous efforts on behalf of our students,” Clark said. “We would also like to recognize the efforts and leadership of Rep. Denise Ennett, members of the Arkansas Legislative Black Caucus, Speaker of the House Matthew Sheppard and Senate President Pro Tempore Jimmy Hickey, Jr. on this critical matter.”

Arkansas Baptist College, originally named the Minister’s Institute, was founded in 1884 by the Colored Baptists of Arkansas. In April 1885, the name of the College was changed to Arkansas Baptist College. Located in Little Rock, it is the only Baptist-affiliated HBCU west of the Mississippi and continues to be supported by the Consolidated Missionary Baptist State Convention.