Southeast Arkansas College was created by Act 1244 of the 78th General Assembly of the State of Arkansas, which was signed into law by the Governor on April 17, 1991.
As contained in Act 1244, "The purpose of this Act is to serve as a legislative charter . . . for the establishment, organization and administration of a system of educational institutions throughout the state offering courses of instruction in technical, vocational and adult education programs, industry training and two-year college transfer programs. The system established under this Act shall provide educational programs which are easily accessible by all segments of the population to benefit from training, retraining or upgrade training for employment and which is highly responsive to individuals needing to achieve basic, general and specialized education to meet the needs of the workplace."
The Act further states that "technical college means an institution of higher education established under this Act dedicated primarily to the educational needs of the service area offering a comprehensive program including, but without limitation, vocational, trade and technical specialty courses and programs, courses in general adult education and courses comparable in content and quality to freshman and sophomore courses which may carry transfer credit to a four-year institution in a chosen course of study."
The above Act re-designated and redefined the mission of eleven (11) existing postsecondary vocational-technical schools located throughout the State to technical colleges. Similarly, state authority for these institutions was transferred from the Arkansas Board of Vocational-Technical Education to the Arkansas Board of Higher Education. The latter serves as the state coordinating agency for all public universities, community colleges and technical colleges in the State of Arkansas.
The predecessor of Southeast Arkansas College was Pines Vocational-Technical School, which began offering postsecondary vocational-technical programs as Arkansas Vocational-Technical School on September 21, 1959. With the enactment of Act 1244, on July 1, 1991, all land, buildings, equipment, and personnel associated with Pines Vocational-Technical School was transferred to Pines Technical College. In October of 1991, the Governor appointed the Charter members of the Pines Technical College Board of Trustees. The College's first president was appointed by the Board of Trustees effective December 1, 1992. In order to better reflect the College's service area, the College changed its name from Pines Technical College to Southeast Arkansas Technical College on July 1, 1996. The word "Technical" was removed from the College's name on July 8, 1998.