LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — College is not a cheap investment by any means. Tuition, fees, and room and board all drive the price higher than some are willing to pay.
UA Little Rock is trying to change that though, with a program geared towards new students.
"For our first time freshman that are coming in, they can receive 50% off of tuition and fees," Kindle Holderby, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Enrollment at UA Little Rock, said. "For not only their freshman year, but also their sophomore year."
That 50% off is available for first time students, and only the first 1,000 that sign up when enrollment opens up in the spring.
The students who receive funds can get up to $10,000 off their first two years – that's roughly half the cost for the first two years.
"Our deal, we looked at it and we just said, 'access and affordability is a huge issue across higher education and how do we hit that head on?'" Holderby said.
But this is only available for incoming first-time students next fall for the 2022 school year. Current students, like senior Maria Romero, don't qualify for these funds.
"It would be kind of selfish of us to sit here and say that, 'we didn't get the same opportunity, therefore no one else can have it,'" Romero said. "So I think it's a really great opportunity and I'm really happy people were given this, and I hope that a lot of people will be able to take advantage of it."
Students have already been asking about the funds, which were made available through a mixture of private donations and unused funds.
"Our phones have been ringing off the hook and students that are coming for our daily campus visits and tours, it's the top of mind, what they're asking," Holderby said.
While Romero won't be able to get any money herself, she said that's fine.
What's most important is getting the money to those who need it, she said.
"I think that opening that door even more to those kinds of students, I think it's something really wonderful," she said. "At the end of the day, it's a bigger picture of trying to cultivate education."