According to 2009 census data, 1 in 4 children in Arkansas lives in poverty. With more than 186,000 children living in poverty, Arkansas has the third highest child poverty rate in the nation behind Mississippi and the District of Columbia. (source: Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families)
One factor contributing to this problem is lack of education of the parent/head of household. Arkansas consistently ranks near the bottom of the list of states in per capita residents who hold bachelor’s degrees or higher.
In Arkansas 90% of single mothers do not hold a college degree. (source: Dr. Kevin Fitzpatrick, Chair of the Community and Family Institute at the University of Arkansas) Single-headed families are even more likely to live in poverty and face limited educational and occupational opportunities.
A college degree can change these statistics – one family at a time.
While the Arkansas Lottery Scholarship will help address this issue over the long term, the majority of lottery scholarships will go to recent high school graduates, not non-traditional students such as those that SPSF NWA is designed to serve. As the United States experiences a prolonged recession and unemployment is at nearly 10%, uneducated and untrained workers are now forced to compete with highly skilled workers for minimum wage jobs.
In an economy where knowledge is the most valuable commodity a person has to offer, it is no wonder that SPSF NWA continues to see more and more scholarship applicants each semester. These single moms and dads are realizing that they must complete a college degree or pursue a technical trade in order to provide for their families.
Fortunately for them, help is available.
The Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Northwest Arkansas, Inc. (SPSF NWA) works to help single parent families become financially stable and independent. We do this by providing direct financial assistance to low-income single parents who are pursuing a career-related course of study in order to gain sufficient employment to meet the basic needs of their families.
Return on Investment
The success of SPSF NWA is really the success of the entire community. Our graduates become productive, tax-paying, self-supporting members of the community. Local businesses benefit from having a better educated workforce and consumers with disposable income. Our cities and state benefit from having citizens who are tax payers instead of citizens dependent upon charitable and public resources. Most importantly, the families we serve benefit by breaking the cycle of poverty. The children in our scholarship families are more likely to attend college and succeed by modeling the example set for them by their parents.