12 Arkansas Colleges Sit out program for high schoolers.MONTICELLO, Ark. (AP) -- Twelve colleges have decided to sit out a state program that allows high school students to earn college credits through distance learning.
The Legislative Audit Division is investigating allegations that the Southeast Arkansas Education Service Cooperative, which runs the program, pressured teachers to inflate grades for the students. The teachers are employed by the cooperative, not the colleges.
While the audit is under way, colleges that have opted out of the program include Arkansas Northeastern College, Arkansas State University Arkansas State University, at Jonesboro; coeducational; chartered 1909; named State Agricultural and Mechanical College, 1925–33. In 1933 the school became Arkansas State College, and in 1967 it achieved university status and adopted its present name. at Jonesboro, ASU at Beebe, ASU at Heber Springs, Black River Technical College Black River Technical College (BRTC) is a public community college serving northeast Arkansas, located in Pocahontas, Arkansas. It is named for the Black River which runs through the city. , Cossatot Community College Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas (CCCUA) is a public community college serving southwest Arkansas. Its main campus is located in the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains in De Queen, Arkansas. , East Arkansas Community College, Henderson State University Henderson State University is a four-year public university located in Arkadelphia, Arkansas and serves as Arkansas’s public liberal arts college. It is a member of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges. , Phillips County Community College, Southern Arkansas University, University of Arkansas Community College at Hope and the University of Central Arkansas The University of Central Arkansas is a state-run institution located in the city of Conway, the seat of Faulkner County, north of Little Rock. The school is most respected for its programs in Education, Occupational Therapy, and Physical Therapy. in Conway.
Only four colleges are participating in the program and overall enrollment has grown, program officials say. High school students are enrolled in more than 2,000 classes for this school year, up from about 1,800 last year, according to Judy Jones, the program director.
Ouachita Technical College in Malvern and North Arkansas College in Harrison are participating in the program. The University of Arkansas at Monticello and Arkansas Tech University in Russellville are expanding their programs, accepting students who had planned to sign up with other colleges.
Program funding for the Arkansas Early College High School program comes mostly from a $720,000 grant from the state.
Bruce Terry resigned last month from his job as cooperative director, after he was suspended. Terry's attorney has declined comment through a spokesman.
In the spring, Laura Creach, former director of the early college program, expressed concern that Terry told teachers that no student should receive less than a "B." The Arkansas Department of Higher Education and the Arkansas Department of Education then investigated.
"I saw enough smoke to think there may be some fire," said Higher Education Director Jim Purcell, who asked for the audit. "For us, we want there to be access for kids in the state, but we want there to be quality teaching and greater institutional oversight and perhaps greater oversight from this office."
Purcell sent a letter May 9 to university presidents and chancellors outlining his concerns.