Arakansas State University-Newport is a two-year college that is part of the broader Arkansas State University System, which includes ASU and five two-year affiliates. While it is part of the system, ASU-Newport is independently accredited and in fact operates as its own mini-system within the ASU system, comprising three campuses: ASU-Newport, ASU-Newport at Marked Tree, and ASU-Newport at Jonesboro. ASU-Newport began as the White River Vocational-Technical School in 1976. In 1991, the vocational school became part of the ASU system. Since 2001, ASU-Newport has been an independent entity in the ASU system, with its own chancellor, though it is governed by the board and president of Arkansas State University.
As a two-year college, ASU-Newport retains it focus on vocational, technical, and para-professional programs. As they state in their Vision, ASU-Newport seeks to “ be the driving force that revitalizes the Delta and restores the American Dream in the communities we serve.” The college’s primary purpose is to provide educational and career opportunity to the people of Alabama’s Mississippi Delta region, an area historically suffering high levels of poverty and unemployment. With this crucial mission, ASU-Newport is dedicated to providing “accessible, affordable, quality education that transforms the lives of our students, enriches our communities and strengthens the regional economy.”
ASU-Newport offers certificate and associate’s degree programs in 18 different fields. Many of these are traditional vocational fields like automotive, HVAC, industrial technology, and welding. There are also service-oriented programs such as cosmetology and hospitality. In addition, ASUN offers a number of associate’s degree programs designed for students to begin a professional career in education, criminal justice, and healthcare, including nursing certificates and an ADN program intended for students to become Registered Nurses. An articulation agreement with the Arkansas Rural Nursing Education Consortium gives nursing students a clear path to higher degree programs.
Since ASU-Newport is part of the Arkasas State system, the college has articulation agreements for Arkansas State University, the University of Central Arkansas, and Williams Baptist University. Any student earning an associate of arts degree can conveniently and smoothly transfer to a four-year program at these institutions, and any Arkansas public university.
As a community college, ASU-Newport’s student body is made up of commuting rather than residential students. The student body stands at around 2400, with around half studying full-time. Because of its primary mission, ASU-Newport puts great emphasis on career services and job placement for students. For instance, the Career Pathways program is designed for low-income parents to earn a degree and be placed in a job with one of ASU-Newport’s corporate and business partners. ASUN also provides significant resources for veterans and underserved populations.
While there is no residential campus, ASU-Newport does offer numerous student organizations, including academic honor societies, intramural sports, and a minority support network. ASUN students can take part in events like movies in the park, concerts and musicals, and a Christmas parade. For instance, the ASU-Newport Patron series brings events to ASUN, including the Arkansas Symphony, country artists like Clint Black, and touring productions of Broadway shows.