The Promise Scholarship

The Promise provides graduates of El Dorado High School with a scholarship 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 annual resident tuition at an Arkansas public university.

Welcome & What to Expect

On average, tuition tends to increase about 7 or 8% per year. In fact, according to the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, college tuition and fees increased 439% from 1982 to 2007, while median family income rose 147%. Student borrowing has more than doubled in the last decade, and students from lower-income families, on average, get smaller grants from the colleges they attend than students from more affluent families. College is becoming more unaffordable for most students and families living in the United States. Except for families who live in El Dorado, Arkansas.

Apply 1

In January 2007, Murphy Oil Corporation announced a commitment to pay college tuition and fees for all graduating seniors, regardless of their family income or grades. That commitment is called “The El Dorado Promise.” 

Since that announcement, many great things are taking place in El Dorado. The percentage of graduating seniors attending college has risen from about 60 percent to 81 percent. After decades of population decline, families are moving into the school district to take advantage of the program. The student body has risen by at least 140 students to more than 4,600, and this year’s kindergarten class is the largest ever. In 2007, the town passed a property-tax increase to build a new high school and created a local sales tax to fund economic development. All of these are good signs for a growing and thriving community that is ambitious in its education pursuits.  

If you are currently a parent of a student attending the El Dorado Public School District, congratulations to you. Your family is fortunate to reside in an extraordinary community with the will to invest in its future. If you don’t live in El Dorado, come take a look at what our community and our schools have to offer. You will be amazed at the spirit of our town and our public school system. We hope you will take the time to learn more about what El Dorado and The Promise have to offer to your children and family.

For more information about El Dorado, visit
For more information about the El Dorado Public School District, visit or download the El Dorado School District Fact Sheet (PDF, 197 KB).

Application Process

Application for the El Dorado Promise should be completed during the student’s senior year in high school, and after the student has made a decision as to where they will attend college. There is no application fee. Once completed, students may submit applications to any El Dorado High School Guidance Counselor. Applications can also be mailed to:

El Dorado Promise
2000 Wildcat Drive
El Dorado, AR 71730

El Dorado Promise

2000 Wildcat Drive, El Dorado, AR 71730
For questions about the application, call the Promise Office at 870-864-5128.

Apply 2


All students who graduate from El Dorado Public Schools and have been an EPS student since at least the ninth grade are eligible to receive the Promise. Enrollment must be continuous.

Requirements to participate in the program:

  1. Must be admitted to and enrolled at a two- or four-year college or university accredited by one of the U.S.’s six regional accrediting bodies.
  2. Must be making progress toward a bachelor’s or associate’s degree.
  3. Maintain a 2.0 cumulative grade point average at post-secondary institution.
  4. Enroll in a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester, and complete at least 24 credit hours each academic year.

Terms & Scholarship Amount

El Dorado Promise provides up to five years of funds for undergraduate post-secondary education for students entering college immediately following high school (unless interrupted by military service). Originally limited to tuition and mandatory fees, students enrolled in the Promise program now have the option to apply Promise funds for other college expenses such as on-campus room and board, books and additional fees.

The El Dorado Promise maximum is set by the maximum level resident tuition payable at an Arkansas public university. Scholarship amounts will be paid based on length of attendance in the El Dorado Public School District. For example, graduates who attend all 13 years at EPS will receive 100 percent of the scholarship (See sidebar).

Funds from the El Dorado Promise are paid directly to the educational institution. El Dorado Promise cannot be used to earn a technical degree or certificate or for attending Graduate School. Only students pursuing a two-year associate’s degree or a four-year bachelor’s degree are qualified for the program.

Length of Attendance Benefit
K-12 100%
1-12 95%
2-12 95%
3-12 95%
4-12 90%
5-12 85%
6-12 80%
7-12 75%
8-12 70%
9-12 65%
10-12 none
11-12 none
12-12 none