El Dorado Promise Marks Third Anniversary

January 22, 2010

Three years have passed since the January 2007 announcement of the El Dorado Promise scholarship program that took the hardworking southern community of El Dorado, Arkansas by storm. Murphy Oil Corporation’s $50 million investment in El Dorado’s students was the result of a long term vision of enhancing this community’s quality of life.

A place-based scholarship, the El Dorado Promise pays tuition and mandatory fees for graduates of El Dorado public schools. The Promise is available to all students who graduate from El Dorado High School, reside in the district, and have been an El Dorado Public School student since at least the ninth grade.

Notably, the timing of the Promise program parallels the occurrence of the harshest worldwide recession in decades. While El Dorado’s businesses have not been immune to the impact of the recession, the Promise may have served to soften the blow.

During the time since the Promise was announced, 1,004 new students have enrolled in the El Dorado School District, reflecting a four percent increase overall. Families have relocated to El Dorado from 31 other states and 13 foreign countries.

The increase in college enrollment also continues to impress. At 79%, the 2009 Promise graduates that enrolled in college exceeded both the state (63%) and national (67%) college enrollment rates. A quarter of 2009 Promise recipients enrolled in college are first generation higher education students.

During the spring 2009 semester, El Dorado High School students in grades nine through twelve took part in a survey created and analyzed by the Research Group at the Institute of Economic Advancement in the College of Business at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Some of the highlights of the survey conclude that since the Promise was announced, the following impacts have been made:

· 36% of students say their parents have become more active and concerned about school conferences and events (45% said their parents had always regularly attended school conferences and events).

· 43% of students say that their attendance at school has improved.

· 48% of students say the quality of student academic performance has improved.

· 65% of students say teachers expect more from students.

· 90% of students plan to complete a college degree, compared to 78% before the Promise.

· The level of education students plan to achieve has also shifted. Before the Promise was announced, half of the students surveyed planned on completing a four-year college degree. However, with the Promise in place, 76% plan to do so.

For additional results from this survey, visit www.eldoradopromise.com.

Looking back over the last three years, progress has been made in preparing El Dorado students to compete in the twenty-first century workforce. While it will take years to fully realize the true impact of the Promise in our community, the most immediate effects of the El Dorado Promise are evident in the El Dorado Public Schools and for its graduates.

For more information about the El Dorado Promise, our schools, and our community, visit these websites www.ElDoradoPromise.com; www.GoElDorado.com; www.ElDoradoPublicSchools.com.

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