East Arkansas Community College is a full-service community college that serves Eastern Arkansas. EACC’s faculty and staff are committed to providing students of all ages and stages of life access to high-quality, affordable career-ready and transfer-ready degree programs, business and industry training, non-credit learning experiences, and cultural enrichment. EACC’s core of general education classes are considered fully transferable to other colleges and universities, and the College is a full participant in the Arkansas Course Transfer System (www.adhe.edu).
Students have the option of taking classes in Forrest City, in Wynne, at other locations within the five-county service area, and online.
EACC has one of the lowest tuition rates in the state. The College participates in federal and state financial aid programs, offers payment plans, and provides institutional and foundation scholarships.
HISTORY OF EACC
East Arkansas Community College’s history begins in 1967 with the creation of Crowley's Ridge Vocational Technical School and continues until today following the Higher Learning Commission’s final approval of the merger of EACC and Crowley’s Ridge Technical Institute (CRTI), in February 2018.
In the late 1960s, residents of St. Francis County sought to create both a technical school and a community college. Crowley's Ridge Vocational Technical School was created during the development of public postsecondary vocational technical schools in Arkansas. In 1966, construction of a building on Newcastle Road was approved by the State Board of Vocational Education, and the building site was donated by the Forrest City Chamber of Commerce. The vocational school’s first official students were accepted in September 1967, and six programs were offered.
In June 1969, to fulfill the goal of establishing a community college in the area, the Crowley Ridge Community College Corporation received its charter. In April 1971, Mrs. Ed (Betty Jo) Hodges donated $25,000 to the organization, allowing the group to purchase 40 acres of land located just north of Crowley's Ridge Vocational Technical School.
In August 1973, the Arkansas Board of Higher Education announced that St. Francis County had met all the requirements and criteria for the formation of a community college district. On November 8, 1973, voters approved the proposal, which included a 4-mill tax to finance construction of East Arkansas Community College. Governor Dale Bumpers appointed nine members to the Board of Trustees, and college representatives officially took office on December 13, 1973. On August 26, 1974, classes opened in a temporary facility in downtown Forrest City. Also in 1974, the newly appointed board authorized construction of 11 buildings at a cost of $1.5 million at the College’s current site at 1700 Newcastle, contiguous to the vocational school. Classes began at the new campus in August 1975. In 1979, EACC was accredited by its regional accreditor, what is now known as the Higher Learning Commission.
In 1992, Crowley's Ridge Vocational Technical School was approved by the State Board of Workforce Education to become a technical institute, and the name was officially changed to Crowley’s Ridge Technical Institute. In 2003, CRTI was accredited by the Council on Occupational Education (COE).
Over the years, EACC’s campus continued to grow with significant improvements to buildings and additions of new facilities including new classroom buildings, a music building, a lecture hall, expansion of the physical education building, the addition of a Computer Education Center, the Learning Resource Center, and the Betty Jo Hodges Student Services Complex. In 2005, EACC began offering classes in Wynne in the Technology Center for the Delta/Bill Thomas Building. In 2010, following a successful capital campaign, EACC opened the Fine Arts Center, one of Arkansas’ only ‘Class A’ performance facilities. EACC began offering courses at the Transportation and Technology Building on Highway 1 in Forrest City in 2011, and in the spring of 2013, EACC completed construction of a new Allied Health Building.
In 2017, the Arkansas State Legislature introduced a bill (Act 636) that paved the way for East Arkansas Community College and Crowley’s Ridge Technical Institute to consolidate. In August 2017, East Arkansas Community College and Crowley’s Ridge Technical Institute officially merged to become a single institution.
In January 2018, a new President was appointed and a new institution began to emerge under the theme “Stronger Together.” The Higher Learning Commission notified the institution that on February 22, 2018, the HLC Board of Trustees officially approved the merger. On May 17, 2018, the EACC Board of Trustees approved revised mission and vision statements to represent the newly combined institution:
MISSION: We provide affordable, accessible learning opportunities to promote student success and strengthen our community.
VISION: Through our service as an academic and economic leader, we will empower students and our community to succeed through business and industry partnerships, cultural enrichment, and educational programming.
The uniquely blended comprehensive community college continues to provide high-quality postsecondary education in an efficient and cost-effective manner, as it has for more than 50 years.