Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship
DEADLINE: JUNE 1
OPENS: OCTOBER 1
The Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship (Arkansas Challenge) provides assistance to Arkansas residents pursing a higher education and is partially funded by the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery and is the most common form of state aid available. There is a traditional and non-traditional Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship.
In addition to the general state requirements, students must also meet one of these criteria:
- Any Arkansas high school graduate with a final GPA of 2.5 or higher
- Any Arkansas resident
- with an ACT score of 19 or higher OR
- who has earned at least 12 college credit hours and a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher
NOTE: Students with college credit must submit an official transcript from each college attended.
How much is the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship?
Arkansas Challenge is a graduated scale award:
- First Year: $1,000 or $500 each semester
- Second Year: $4,000 or $2,000 each semester
- Third Year: $4,000 or $2,000 each semester
- Fourth Year: $5,000 or $2,500 each semester
NOTE: These awards are based on semester payments. So a student who receives their first semester payment in the “First Year” and the second semester payment in their “Second Year” would still have two equal payments of $500 each semester. The semester payment will not increase just because a student changes in grade level.
NOTE: For first-time entering freshman who have earned college credit while attending high school (concurrent enrollment), those students may choose to start at the higher level based upon their earned college credit (concurrent) and forego the first semester scholarship, or they may choose to enter as a first-time entering freshman at the $1,000 annual level, not using the earned college credit (concurrent). There will be an option for this on the application.
What is the difference between the Traditional and Non-Traditional Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarships?
The Traditional Arkansas Challenge is for graduating seniors who are entering into college in the same year.
The Non-Traditional Arkansas Challenge is for any student who graduated from high school more than a year prior to completing the YOUniversal Application. This includes students who do not start college directly after high school completion or currently enrolled college students.
How many hours are required for the Traditional Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship?
A student must enroll in at least 15 credit hours each semester to receive the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship for that semester. The only exceptions include the student’s first semester in which the student is required to enroll in at least 12 hours and the student’s final semester in which the student is completing their degree.
Hours taken during the final semester in which the student is graduating will be pro-rated as follows:
- 15+ credit hours = full award;
- 9-14 credit hours = ¾ award;
- 6-8 credit hours ½ award
Applies to both Traditional and Non-Traditional Challenge recipients.
NOTE: Even if a student takes extra hours in the fall semester, the student must still be enrolled in at least 15 credit hours in the spring semester for the award to pay. The Arkansas Academic Challenge cannot be applied to courses taken in the summer term.
What is the renewal criteria for the Traditional Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship?
To renew the Traditional Arkansas Challenge, a student must complete a total of 30 credit hours for the academic year with a cumulative 2.5 GPA for all college courses. The only exception is for the student’s first academic year, they are only required to complete a total of 27 credit hours.
NOTE: Renewal criteria is separate from semester criteria. If a student is unable to complete 30 credit hours for the academic year due to course failure or withdrawal, the student may make up the hours in the summer term; however, the student will be responsible to request from Records an official transcript with the summer coursework be sent to ADHE by September 15.
How many hours are required for the Non-Traditional Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship?
A student must enroll in at least 6 credit hours each semester to receive the Non-Traditional Arkansas Challenge for that semester; however, the Non-Traditional Arkansas Challenge is prorated based on enrollment.
- 15+ credit hours: Full semester award
- 9-14 credit hours: ¾ semester award
- 6-9 credit hours: ½ semester award
- Less than 6 credit hours: no award
What is the renewal criteria for the Non-Traditional Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship?
To renew the Non-Traditional Arkansas Challenge, a student must complete the number of credit hours for which the student was awarded with a cumulative 2.5 GPA for all college courses. This means if a student is awarded for 15 hours for the fall and 12 hours for the spring, the student must complete at least 24 credit hours (15 credit hours full award + 9-14 credit hours ¾ award) to renew the Non-Traditional Arkansas Challenge scholarship for the following year.
NOTE: If a student is unable to complete courses due to course failure or withdrawal, the student may make up the hours in the summer term; however, the student will be responsible to request from Records an official transcript with the summer coursework be sent to ADHE by September 15.
Do I have to apply every year?
No. Once you are awarded the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship the award will automatically renew as long as you meet the renewal criteria. The Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship is renewable for up to 4 years.
For more information for the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship, please review the ADHE overview.