Unrestricted gifts are vital to the COB to allow the Dean the flexibility to provide necessary student assistance not funded through existing State of Arkansas appropriations. The Dean’s Fund for Excellence (the Fund) will focus on greatest immediate need providing special scholarship, internship, study abroad, and competitive support for our most gifted and talented students.
Educational attainment is problematic in Arkansas. Only 18% of adult Arkansans have earned a college degree and three in four who successfully earn a college degree in Arkansas leave the state upon graduation.** Continued increases in tuition, fees, and books combined with shrinking State of Arkansas appropriations puts even greater financial pressure on students seeking a business education. For many outstanding students it is simply out of reach. Through the generous support of COB donors, 38 private scholarships provided support for 55 students in 2010. With 1,400 students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs, this represents only four percent of the COB student population. The Fund will provide much needed scholarship assistance.
Companies throughout central Arkansas offer “real world” internship opportunities for students to gain the necessary experience needed to advance in their desired field of study. These opportunities are rich in value giving students direct business experience while attending the COB, however, many are unpaid experiences making the opportunity nearly impossible for non-traditional students who must earn an income to support a family while earning their education. The Fund can “bridge the gap” offering students needed support to take advantage of these “real world” opportunities.
Today’s business climate requires knowledge of international business and globalization. The sobering fact is that many COB students have never been outside the state of Arkansas and have likely never dreamed of an experience outside the Unites States. Study abroad opportunities allow students to broaden their view within their academic discipline while learning about people and culture in an international setting. The Fund will ease the financial barriers that might otherwise prohibit these valued study experiences.
Each year there are many local, national, and international “high profile” student business competitions that students and faculty are unable to take advantage of due to existing limited funding. These competitions are highly visible and allow students the opportunity to apply classroom knowledge while solving important “real world” business problems. Additional skills are sharpened in competitive environments but unfortunately, these experiences exceed the financial capacity of students and faculty. The Fund will provide for this desired competitive experience.
Additional opportunities may include visits to companies related to a desired major, host visiting business scholars and guest speakers, assisting COB student clubs and societies like the nationally recognized Beta Gamma Sigma Society, and the annual trip for top economic and finance students to attend the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholders meeting.