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The Arkadelphia Promise announced on Friday a college retention rate of 70 percent for its first class of Arkadelphia High School graduates, which exceeds both the state and national rates.

The nonprofit organization said that 63 of 90 students from the original Promise class of 2011 returned to college for their sophomore year, a retention rate of 70 percent. The retention rate for all Arkansas college freshmen is 61.4 percent, according to the Arkansas Department of Higher Education. The national rate is 67.4 percent.

“It is great to see that our students are staying in college at a rate more than eight percent higher than the state average,” said Arkadelphia Promise director Jason Jones in a news release. “We know that those who make it back to college for their sophomore year are much more likely to finish, so this is a big step to a degree for these students.”

The Arkadelphia Promise, modeled after Murphy Oil’s El Dorado Promise, is funded by the Ross Foundation and Southern Bancorp. It provides college scholarships and other resources for all graduating seniors at Arkadelphia High.