New Student Success Center at the University of Arkansas Supported With $5M Grant

FAYETTEVILLE, AR – The Walmart Foundation is supporting student success at the University of Arkansas (U of A) with a $5 million grant for the new Student Success Center on campus.

One of the goals of the Student Success Center will be eliminating significant undergraduate student achievement gaps. The center will serve the entire campus as a centralized comprehensive academic support unit, and the program staff within the center will initiate contact with students during the summer before their first year. This connection will continue as students move toward careers or professional and graduate programs and include financial, academic and social support.

“As a first-generation college student, I can attest to the importance of having access to programming and resources that foster success in a university setting,” says Chancellor Joe Steinmetz. “The Walmart Foundation is making it possible for more students—especially those from Arkansas—to access the tools they need in one convenient location, and this grant will help create the first Student Success Center of its kind in the SEC. We are appreciative of the foundation’s continued support of our students and recognize that investments like this will help students who have unmet financial, academic and social needs achieve academic success.”

The second floor of the Student Success Center will be named the Walmart Foundation Academic Excellence Hub in recognition of the gift. This will be the main floor of the facility and will include spaces like the 360 Advising Studio, STEM Studio, Fulbright Advising Studio, First-Generation College Student Outreach, and Arkansas First-Generation Student Programming.

The 360 Advising Program is a pilot initiative in the Office of Student Success and proactively assists students in need by using predictive analytics to provide mentoring, resources, and support to first-generation Arkansans. The STEM Studio will provide academic support for gateway math and science courses and help students demographically underrepresented in STEM fields prepare for meaningful careers.

“We are delighted to be collaborating with the Walmart Foundation to support University of Arkansas students,” says Trevor Francis, associate vice provost and director of student success. “The stronger our partnerships, the greater number of students we can inspire and provide with much-needed holistic support. Ultimately, this grant will be used to design a place where more students, especially those whose talents have yet to be discovered and cultivated, will be empowered to achieve their unique academic and career goals.”

The university’s graduation rates have improved significantly over the past 15 years—reaching a record 66 percent in the latest U.S. News and World Report rankings. For students without financial, social, or academic need, the six-year graduation rate is 77.7 percent.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the Student Success Center was held on September 12. The four-story, 71,000-square-foot facility will be located in the historic heart of campus. It is scheduled to open in early 2022.

The foundation’s contribution counts in Campaign Arkansas, the university’s $1.25 billion capital campaign to advance academic opportunity at the U of A.

About Campaign Arkansas
Campaign Arkansas is the ongoing capital campaign for the University of Arkansas to raise private gift support for the university’s academic mission and other key priorities. The campaign’s goal is to raise $1.25 billion to support academic and need-based scholarships; technology enhancements; new and renovated facilities; undergraduate, graduate, and faculty research; study abroad opportunities; and other innovative programs. The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in a wide spectrum of disciplines as it works to fulfill its public land-grant mission to serve Arkansas and beyond as a partner, resource, and catalyst.

About the University of Arkansas
The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among fewer than 3 percent of colleges and universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.