Walton Foundation Offers Scholarships

by Arkansas Business staff  on Monday, Dec. 27, 1999 12:00 am  

The Walton Family Foundation Inc. has awarded $3.37 million for scholarships for black future teachers who, for a free college education, agree to teach in the Delta and south Arkansas.

The 136 scholarships over seven years will go to the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, which will receive $2,055,433, the University of Arkansas at Monticello, which will get $692,316; and Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia, which will get $627,135.

The scholarships cover tuition, fees, room, board and books for a maximum of four years. For each year a student receives a scholarship, he must agree to teach one year in the Delta or in an area of south Arkansas with similar demographics where teachers are in great demand.

"It's a great day for education in Arkansas," UAPB Chancellor Lawrence A. Davis Jr. says. "It's a great day for Arkansas because most certainly the Delta region of Arkansas needs an infusion of human talent, especially in the teacher corps."

SAU Chancellor Steven Gamble says the scholarships can help solve the under-representation of black kindergarten through 12-grade teachers in the Delta region.

UAPB, which has supplied most of the black teachers to public schools in the Delta, will get most of the scholarships, 20 a year for seven years. The university had 375 black students enrolled in its teacher education program this past fall. SAU and UAM each expect to graduate 28 students, seven each year. The scholarships will be awarded beginning in fall 2000. The chancellors say their schools will work to make the program successful enough that it will continue beyond the seven years.

"There are very few incentives for new African-American teachers to seek positions in these disadvantaged areas," Davis says. "With better pay and a higher quality of working and living conditions in other areas of Arkansas, most teacher education majors do not enter college with the goal of relocating to the Delta after graduation."



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