Students who are residents of Arkansas who have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of zero on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, will have no upfront cost to attending Arkansas State University next academic year.
The Come to the 870 Plan invites students from families with modest means from across the state to attend on-campus at A-State.
“We call it the Come to the 8-7-Zero Plan because it removes the primary barrier for the students who have the greatest potential to change their lives and the lives of their families,” Chancellor Kelly Damphousse said. “If you have a zero EFC, you have zero tuition and fee costs to attend A-State.”
Named for the area code for Jonesboro and a large portion of the state of Arkansas, the 870 Plan packages together a combination of a new A-State Heritage Grant with federal aid, state scholarships, and work study opportunities. The A-State Heritage Grant is a need-based grant that salutes Arkansas State’s legacy as a university that has traditionally served the first-generation students of the state and played a pivotal role in uplifting families through higher education achievement.
“It is inspired by the same factors that made A-State the top university for Social Mobility in Arkansas in the recent US News rankings,” Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management Dr. Bryan Terry said. “This program starts at home – here in Jonesboro and the Crowley’s Ridge region – by working to get those who need college most into college. It then reaches out to invite students across our state to the 870.
“We know that coming to college and completing a degree is the greatest predictor of higher lifetime earning potential,” Terry continued. “The 8-7-Zero Plan’s goal is to reduce the upfront cost for these students who need assistance the most to exactly that: zero.”
In addition to ZERO tuition and fee costs, students in their first year at A-State year may use any excess funding to help zero out on-campus living expenses.
“This all begins with students filling out their federal eligibility form – it’s called the FAFSA – and seeing what you and your family qualify for in grants and scholarships,” Damphousse said. “From there, our Financial Aid and University Advancement team will create a custom package to reduce the overall starting cost of attendance at A-State to zero.”
First-year students may require a modest federally backed student loan to bridge the gap in the first year as in-state students see a significant grant increase beginning with their second year through the Arkansas Promise scholarship program.
Families should start filling out the FAFSA now at www.fafsa.org. Funds for the 8-7-Zero program are limited, and applications should be submitted by A-State’s priority consideration date of Dec. 1. Also, make sure to use Arkansas State’s federal school code on the FAFSA which is 001090.
The leader in the state for social mobility of its graduates, Arkansas State seeks to enhance its position by assisting the neediest students with this program.
“There is a proliferation of free college plans across the country, and we want to be clear, this is not ‘free college,’ but it does remove the major obstacle to social mobility for talented students through the creation of a customized admission,” Terry said. “There is work study in the packages, and we believe that is important. We will spend a great deal of time matching students with mentors that can guide them through that all-so-important first year.”
Even for students who don’t have a “zero” expected family contribution, A-State has numerous private scholarships and other assistance programs that significantly lower the cost to attend.
“Our motto here is Every Red Wolf Counts. Accordingly, we want to grant the academic dreams of achieving a degree from A-State,” Terry said. “I believe that every student who graduates from an Arkansas high school deserves an opportunity to go to college. We strongly believe that here at Arkansas State University, which is why we are a leader in social mobility.”
The Come to the 870 Plan also has a component for those wanting to return to A-State and complete their degree. Terry said people who stopped attending A-State for family reasons, but stayed in good academic standing, can access the A-State Heritage Grant and other programs.
“We want to educate the state,” Terry added. “We have seen the studies and we know that A-State can assist with Jonesboro’s needs by educating working adults. An educated population is simply good for all of us in Arkansas. The bottom line is this institution has prided itself on transformation. We want to change lives, and we will work to create the experience that minimizes the financial impact on students and their families.”
Terry and his enrollment management team are hosting the first major open house of the fall recruitment season on Homecoming weekend, Pack Preview, Saturday, Oct. 26.
“That Saturday, we will be ready with answers for students in our area,” Terry said. “If you are a sophomore who just got your first test scores, a junior who has questions about majors or a senior trying to figure out how to pay the bill, we want you to get registered for the event. Come see what campus is like and get ready to become a Red Wolf.”
To register for Pack Preview, go to AState.edu/PackPreview. To learn more about packages and scholarships, go to AState.edu/Admissions.