Gov. Mike Beebe announced today that Arkansas has received a $1 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation aimed at increasing college completion rates. Only ten grants were awarded to the 33 states competing for the award. From the release:

“Complete College America’s grant is well-timed to assist in our redoubled efforts to increase the number of college graduates in Arkansas,” Beebe said. “It recognizes that continued hard work will improve our workforce readiness and increase economic-development opportunities for our state.”

A report released last year by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education showed that only 38 percent of public university students graduate within six years. The national average was 53 percent. The state will work with a national nonprofit organization called Complete College America. Exactly what that program will look like is unclear. The full press release is on the jump.