Forrest City, AR
"Due to the flexibility of online classes offered with the University of Arkansas, I worked full time yet earned a 4.0 GPA and made the Chancellor’s List."
For Ashley Hill, being a full-time employee, mother and student can be overwhelming, but it hasn’t stopped her from pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in interdisciplinary studies degree at the University of Arkansas.
“I began my degree almost 15 years ago,” Hill said. “Like many others, life set in, and I had to place my dream (of a college degree) on hold. I work full time and have a family to support. When the opportunity became available for me to return to college, I did not hesitate. Without the availability of online courses, I would not be able to fulfill my degree.”
Hill is an executive assistant at Council of Prison Locals-33 AFL/CIO, a union that represents more than 30,000 prison employees in the United States and Puerto Rico. She chose to take courses online because they allow her the flexibility to continue working and provide for her family while earning a degree.
“If I couldn’t attend online, I would have to stop working and risk my livelihood,” Hill said. “My employer requires me to travel for specific meetings. Due to the flexibility of online classes offered with the University of Arkansas, I worked full time yet earned a 4.0 GPA and made the Chancellor’s List.”
Hill is one of 23 people to receive the W.E. Manning Memorial Scholarship for online U of A students for the 2020-2021 academic year. She plans to continue her education by obtaining an online master’s degree, also from the University of Arkansas. Her long-term ambition is to work with inmates in the prison’s re‐entry program, helping connect soon-to-be-released inmates with resources and educational programs that will help them become productive members of society when they are released.
Hill also wants to encourage her child to pursue college, while professionally, the degree will allow her to obtain a better-paying career.
“Neither would be possible without the Manning scholarship,” Hill said.