EL DORADO, Ark. (01/21/20) — This month marks the 13th anniversary of the El Dorado Promise which has benefited over 2,6000 students in the El Dorado School District.
All of the schools are participating in events this week to celebrate a unique partnership that has been led by the Murphy Oil Corporation.
The corporation announced in 2007 that it would help pay college tuition for all of the city’s high school graduates.
The El Dorado Promise is a unique scholarship program which provides graduates of El Dorado High School a tuition scholarship that can be used at any accredited Arkansas public university or community college, or any accredited private or out-of-state university.
Alex Langston received the Promise Scholarship in 2009 and went on to study and graduate from South Arkansas University in Magnolia.
She remembers when the inaugural 2007 class received the big news that they and other students following after them would receive a significant amount of money to help fund their college education.
“All of a sudden they said they were going to pay for everyone’s college and everybody was like what do you mean you’re going to pay for our college,” Langston said.
Many of the students didn’t know then how much that would impact their lives. Langston received the scholarship along with her other two siblings. She lived in a single-parent home while growing up. The scholarship made a difference for her and her family.
“It’s very expensive to put three kids in college especially three at the same time,” she said. “It made a huge difference that we were able to go and have it paid for and come out of college pretty much debt free.
Langston said the scholarship puts recipients in a position to succeed before and after college.
“I was able to purchase my first home at 21 and I wouldn’t have been able to do that paying for student loans or knowing I was about to have a very large payment each month after graduation,” she said.
She was also able to open a restaurant at the age of 25 then joined Murphy Oil Corporation as an employee in February 2019.
Langston said she’s received a lot of advice during and after her time in college but hopes this one message will resonate with students the most.
“Take full advantage of the money that has been provided for you,” she said. “Ultimately it’s a gift and you need to capitalize on the gift given.”
All students who graduate from El Dorado Public School, reside in the district and have been an EPS student since at least the ninth grade (Enrollment and residency must be continuous) qualify for the Promise, which provides up to five years of tuition and mandatory fees for undergraduate post-secondary education for students entering college immediately following high school, unless interrupted by military service.
To learn more about the scholarship and what else the Murphy Oil Corporation does for students in the community, visit their website.