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Exploring Arkansas's Scholarship Opportunities

As you navigate the exciting journey toward higher education, one essential aspect of a successful journey is financing your education. Arkansas offers scholarship opportunities to ensure students can pursue their academic goals without the burden of overwhelming debt. From merit-based awards to those based on unique talents and backgrounds, the scholarships available in Arkansas cater to a diverse range of students.

State Aid Programs

Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship: 

The most popular state aid program is the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship (also known as the Lottery Scholarship). The lottery scholarship is available to Arkansas residents who are graduating from a public or private high school or homeschool. Students must have an ACT Superscore of at least 19 (or the equivalent of a 19 composite score on an equivalent test) to be eligible.

  • The first year, at least 27 hours must be completed with a 2.5 cumulative GPA. A minimum of 12 hours must be completed the first fall semester following high school graduation and at least 15 hours the spring semester.

  • The second year, at least 30 hours must be complete with a 2.5 cumulative GPA.  A minimum of 15 hours must be completed each semester.

  • College freshman who did not initially qualify for the Academic Challenge Scholarship can apply as traditional students their sophomore year if they were enrolled as a full-time first-time freshman and completed 27 hours with a 2.5 GPA at the end of their spring semester. If they do not have 27 hours at the end of spring, they can apply as a non-traditional student.

Non-traditional students are defined as students who are currently in college but did not previously receive the Academic Challenge Scholarship, as well as adults who have completed some college but do not have a degree.

  • Non-traditional students with college hours will qualify with a cumulative college GPA of at least 2.5.

  • Adults with no college experience can qualify for the Academic Challenge Scholarship if they have an ACT score of 19 (or an equivalent score on an equivalent test).

  • Non-traditional students may enroll in as few as six hours and still receive a pro-rated scholarship amount.

  • Non-traditional students must also maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5; their continuing eligibility requirement is based on the number of hours they complete.
For more information on the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship visit:

Governor’s Distinguished Scholarship: 

The Governor’s Distinguished Scholarship is the most academically rigorous scholarship program offered for graduating high school seniors scoring either a minimum composite or Superscore of 32 on the ACT or 1410 on the SAT and a 3.50 unweighted, cumulative high school grade point average. Those named National Merit Finalists or National Achievement Scholars may qualify without meeting the GPA requirement but must still meet the ACT/SAT requirement. FAFSA completion is required. The scholarship pays tuition, mandatory fees, and room and board up to $10,000 per year.  For more information on the Governor’s Distinguished Scholarship visit:

Arkansas Future Grant (ArFuture):  

Arkansas students enrolling in a STEM program, a state high demand, or regionally high demand area of study should check out the Arkansas Future Grant (ArFuture). It is available to those who have graduated from an Arkansas high school, Arkansas home school or GED program, or anyone who has a high school diploma and has lived in Arkansas for the last three years and has not yet earned an associate degree. The award covers tuition and general mandatory fees. For more information on the Arkansas Future Grant visit:
These are just three state aid programs available for Arkansas students attending college in Arkansas. For a complete list, visit .

Other Scholarship Tips and Tricks 

Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA): While many students associate the FAFSA solely with federal aid, it’s important to note that FAFSA completion is also a requirement for accessing Arkansas state aid programs. Numerous other scholarship opportunities, both within the state and beyond, may also require FAFSA completion as part of their application process.
Research Scholarship Opportunities: Start by researching available scholarships in Arkansas through online databases, scholarship search engines, college websites, and local community organizations. Pay attention to eligibility criteria, deadlines, and application requirements for each scholarship. Do not pay for services to help you with your scholarship search. 
Complete Applications: Once you have identified scholarships you may be eligible to receive, carefully review the application instructions and requirements. Gather any required documents, such as transcripts, letters of recommendation, essays, and financial information, and complete the applications thoroughly and accurately. 
Submit Applications on Time: Be mindful of scholarship deadlines and submit your applications well before the due date to ensure they are received on time. Keep track of deadlines and requirements for each scholarship you are applying for to avoid missing out on opportunities. 
Follow Up: After submitting your scholarship applications, follow up with the scholarship providers to confirm receipt of your materials and inquire about the selection timeline. Be proactive in seeking feedback or additional information if needed. 

Arkansas Based College Planning Services

Navigating the scholarship and college application process can be challenging and complex for students and their families. The Arkansas Student Loan Authority College Planning Service provides free assistance with completing the FAFSA and serves as a comprehensive resource for exploring various funding options. Contact ASLA and utilize this free resource by visiting