El Dorado Promise Expands Flexibility of Scholarship


January 22, 2009

Murphy Oil Corporation announced today that it is expanding the El Dorado Promise Scholarship program to allow more flexibility for students and families in El Dorado looking for ways to afford a higher education.  

Established in January 2007 and funded by Murphy Oil Corporation, the El Dorado Promise is a scholarship program covering tuition and mandatory fees that can be used at any accredited two- or four-year, public or private educational institution in the US. The maximum amount payable is up to the highest resident tuition at an Arkansas public university.  

Students with scholarships or grants covering tuition in addition to the Promise will now have the option to apply the Promise funds – originally limited to tuition and mandatory fees – to be used for other college expenses such as on-campus room, board, books and additional fees.

Arkansas recently received an “F” in affordability of college, according to a study released by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education.  Overall tuition costs in Arkansas have increased by 71% since 2000 alone.  As of the 2008-2009 academic year, the highest annual public university tuition rate in the state is $6,505.

“We want El Dorado students to be able to fully utilize Promise dollars awarded, so while we are still paying the equivalent of tuition and mandatory fees at the students’ respective schools, those receiving additional tuition scholarships will be able to use their Promise funds to cover other college expenses, such as on-campus room and board,” said Claiborne Deming, recently retired President and CEO of Murphy Oil Corporation.

In November, Arkansas voters passed a ballot measure approving a state lottery.  The proceeds from the lottery are to fund college scholarships for Arkansas’ high school graduates.  The State Legislature will determine the amounts, eligibility requirements, and start date for the Arkansas lottery scholarship.

“The advantage for El Dorado students is that the Promise covers every college-bound senior, and if they are fortunate enough to be awarded a lottery scholarship or other scholarships, they can choose to use their Promise tuition funds to cover additional college expenses,” said Bob Watson, El Dorado School District Superintendent. “So living in Arkansas and getting the lottery scholarships is wonderful, but now, living in El Dorado just got a lot better.”

The new flexibility for the Promise scholarship takes effect beginning with the spring 2009 semester.  The El Dorado Promise funds are not need-based and are given based on the amount of time students have lived in the district and attended El Dorado public schools. 

For more information about the scholarship program, visit www.ElDoradoPromise.com.

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