Beginning next fall, incoming freshmen at the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith will have the opportunity to lock in their tuition rate for up to four years at the most affordable university in the state.


UAFS will begin offering a fixed tuition program named the UAFS Promise for first-time entering freshmen in fall 2019. Described as a mutual agreement between the university and students, the program rewards students with a flat tuition rate for up to four years at the university, provided they remain on track to graduate within the timeframe of their degree program. Most baccalaureate degree programs have a timeframe of four years or eight semesters.


“When Governor Hutchinson asked for all universities to freeze tuition last year, we started to think of ways that we could continue to keep costs low for our students,” said Dr. Edward Serna, interim chancellor of UAFS. “A program like the UAFS Promise, which maintains a flat rate while incentivizing them to graduate within four years, is a win for everyone involved.”


Serna added that the development of the UAFS Promise drove “introspection” at the university to identify ways to better accommodate students. An advising task force that convened in the spring semester led to the creation of a First-Year Success Center to be opened in fall 2019. All incoming freshmen will be advised through this center, which will also serve “as a centralized location for student support services to better serve all of our first-year students, not just those enrolled in the Promise,” Serna said.


Julie Mosley, director of advisement at UAFS, said the program demonstrates the university’s commitment to student success.


“The UAFS Promise is our pledge to ensure students continue to get an excellent education at UAFS at an affordable tuition rate,” Mosley said. “Through the advising process on our campus, advisors will be dedicated to assisting students in connecting with the resources needed to be successful in the classroom and on the university campus. On-time graduation will be a priority for students in this program, saving them tuition dollars and ultimately allowing them to enter the workforce more quickly.”


Serna added that the initiative is a major step toward the university’s five-year strategic plan goals of increasing the enrollment, retention and graduation rates of students.


“But the UAFS Promise is more than just an initiative to increase retention and graduation rates,” he said. “It’s a statement about who we are as an institution. For our region to thrive, our university must be accessible, affordable and focused on student success, and this program is part of our continuing commitment to meeting those needs.”


At this time, current, transfer, and readmitted students are not eligible to participate in the UAFS Promise. Students interested in signing up for the program can do so during their initial advising appointment at the university.


For more information on UAFS Promise, contact the Advising Office at 479-788-7400 or visit www.uafs.edu/promise.