Arkansas State, Mid-South Boards to Consider Merger at January Meetings

The boards of trustees at Arkansas State University System and Mid-South Community College have set meetings for Jan. 9 to consider a merger.

Arkansas Business first reported on the possibility of a merger in November after MSCC's board unanimously voted to enter formal conversations with the ASU System.

"Discussions with constituents have been positive and productive," Charles L. Welch, president of the ASU System, said in a news release. "We haven't identified any major issues. Dr. [Glen] Fenter and his team have done an excellent job of outlining their expectations and vision for the institution, and we're enthusiastic about the system's ability to help them achieve their goals in education and workforce training." 

If the merger is approved by both boards, it would be effective July 1, following approval of the Higher Learning Commission.

"This would give us ample time tow work together through the legislative session and budge planning for next year," Fenter, president of MSCC, said in the release. "We are all confident that we can execute a smooth transition."

In November, Fenter said the merger gives MSCC "the edge that we've never had on our own."

"It it is approached the right way, I think it has the potential to become a very powerful catalyst for our region to maximize some great opportunities," Fenter said.

Mid-South has an enrollment of 1,917 students, including 1,252 undergraduate and 665 high school students.

The ASU system has campuses in Beebe, Mountain Home, Newport, Searcy, Marked Tree, Heber Springs, Paragould and the Little Rock Air Force Base. Its flagship institution is in Jonesboro.