Rural Community College Could Be Joining U Of A System

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MENA (KFSM)-- A community college in rural Arkansas may soon be joining the University of Arkansas school system.

Rich Mountain Community College in Mena is in the beginning stages of discussion to join the largest community college system in the state.

“Anytime that you can be a part of a system like the University of Arkansas, it's an honor,” RMCC president Phillip Wilson said. “There are currently five community colleges in the system, and we would potentially be the sixth.”

Wilson said right now the merge is not official, and the conversation is merely beginning with college's board of trustees.

'”We're a very rural community college,” Wilson said. “We love our independence, but in today's ever-changing higher education landscape being a part of a system might be a very good thing for us.”

Wilson said the everyday life at the college would not change, but the typical 950 student population could see some growth, and current students said they are excited about the possible merge.

“I've always wanted to go to the University of Arkansas,” RMCC student, Jared Standridge, said. “I love the Razorbacks, and when I read that it was going to be on our diploma I was like that's awesome.”

Standridge said being able to stay close to home, but still attending a U of A school would help him in the future.

“I'd like to go to UAMS, and so to have U of A on the diploma, I think it's going to be really cool, and really push my farther where they see that it's University of Arkansas,” Standridge said.

Wilson said the decision to join the system should be made within the month.

If the merge does happen, Wilson said it could take effect on July 1, 2016.