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.
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. And of course, you will need a good church to attend. That is where we come in. Visit one of our weekly services.