BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KFTA) — Northwest Arkansas Community College is considering adding dormitories to its campus.
The Arkansas Legislature recently voted to allow community colleges to have dorms.
“I think that my daughter would do well staying close to home, but yet she would have independence in a dorm — and it also enables them to be a little more involved in the school,” Kilista Thomason said.
Thomason’s daughter will be attending NWACC this fall. She says as long as the cost of tuition wouldn’t go up with the addition of dorms, she’s open to the idea.
“Apartments are not cheap in Bentonville because of the home office, so then to find housing at NWACC is difficult,” Thomason said.
Dr. Evelyn Jorgenson, President of NWACC, says it’s in the very early stages of considering if dorms would be helpful to students.
“The question is could we garner more enrollment? Would there be more interest in the community college if housing were available? As of right now, most of our students do live at home or in apartments,” Jorgenson said.
Research will be conducted on the pros and cons of adding dorms, but two buildings are currently under construction at NWACC and those projects are taking higher priority right now.
“I think we have a responsibility to examine all of the factors that might encourage students to attend NWACC. If there are any barriers out there, we try very hard to remove those barriers,” Jorgenson said.
But not all parents are on board.
“I think the purpose of a community college is to serve the people that live in close proximity, and if you live in close proximity you don’t need to have a dorm,” Michel Wall said.
All eight of Walls’ children have taken classes at NWACC, and five of them have graduated with their associates degree. She says adding dorms would defeat the purpose of a community college.
“I don’t think adding dorms is going to benefit either the programs or the families that are blessed by the program,” Wall said.
Members of the NWACC Board of Trustees will be visiting community colleges with dorms in Missouri and Kansas in the coming weeks.