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After weeks of rumors concerning the closure of the Benton campus of UA-Little Rock, the school has now officially announced the fate of the campus.

“In recent weeks, you may have heard discussion that UA-Little Rock will discontinue courses at the Benton Center campus,” said Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Dr. Ann Bain in statement provided to The Saline Courier. “I want to provide information to clarify the direction the university is taking in relation to our educational offerings in Saline County."

“As a part of our institutional effectiveness planning, the university has been undergoing an extensive evaluation of our academic and nonacademic programs, including the Benton Center,” Bain said. “In recent years, the center has reflected an enrollment shift from face-to-face classes to online enrollment. Because of this trend, staffing structure and facility costs at the Benton Center no longer make operation of this extended campus economically feasible. As a result, pending UA System Board of Trustee approval, UA Little Rock will close the Benton Center in June 2020.”

Earlier this month, The Saline Courier reported that the campus would close after attending a meeting of the UA-Little Rock Benton Advisory Board. Following that meeting, Bain provided a statement to the Courier that did not confirm a closure, but stated that the school was “evaluating our service to Benton and the rest of the county closely”.

Members of the advisory board stated at the meeting that they had already been told that the campus would close.

According to Bain, face-to-face classes will be held in the spring 2020 semester Tuesday and Thursday and that the course offerings have been coordinated with academic units at the main campus. Students have already been informed.

“We are committed to maintaining a strong partnership with Saline County, the second highest county in Arkansas that we serve in student population,” Bain said. “Throughout the transition process, the university will engage and seek feedback from our Saline County partners, including the educational, medical and business community. This includes consideration of providing flexible classes in other locations in Saline County.”

Bain also added that the school will continue to find ways to serve Saline County students more effectively.

“Most recently, UA-Little Rock increased the number of academic merit scholarships, expanded our transfer student scholarships, and dedicated a recruiter for Saline County,” Bain said. “Our Admissions Office has had many visits with Saline County school districts and schools to facilitate student college readiness. We have sponsored application days at the high schools, waived student application fees and sponsored school counselors luncheons.”

Saline County college or high school students who have questions about the Benton Center or about admission to the university should contact the Office of Admissions and Recruitment, admissions@ualr.edu or 501-569-3127 or contact UA Little Rock Online, ualr.edu/online.

Students who are currently advised through the Benton Center will be contacted through their UA Little Rock email accounts by early January about future advising. In the meantime, students are invited to direct any advising concerns to advising@ualr.edu.

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