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Arkansas Grants and Scholarships

Arkansas residents seeking education beyond high school will now find the scholarship application process more user-friendly than ever before, thanks to the YOUniversal Scholarship Application. By answering a few simple questions about age, grade-point average, ACT or SAT scores, and income level, applicants will be matched with the financial aid programs they may qualify for, along with an estimated amount of financial aid they might expect in an academic year.

Log on to to fill our your application. Residents still have to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to determine eligibility for Federal financial aid. Go to to fill out your form.

Applicants can begin applying for Federal Student Aid after October 1, 2022, for the 2023-2024 school year.

Here is the list of current Arkansas Grants and Scholarships:

Academic Challenge Scholarship - High School
The Academic Challenge Program provides scholarships to Arkansas residents pursuing a higher education. Funded in large part by the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery, the Academic Challenge Scholarship is available to students regardless of their academic status, whether just graduating from high school, currently enrolled in college, enrolling in college for the first time, or re-enrolling after a period of time out of college.
Scholarship Deadline to Apply: June 1

Academic Challenge Scholarship - Non-Traditional Students
The Academic Challenge Program provides scholarships to Arkansas residents pursuing a higher education. Funded in large part by the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery, the Academic Challenge Scholarship is available to students regardless of their academic status, whether just graduating from high school, currently enrolled in college, enrolling in college for the first time, or re-enrolling after a period of time out of college.
Scholarship Deadline to Apply: August 1

Arkansas Future Grant (ARFuture) - High School - Non-Traditional Students
Arkansas Future (ARFuture), is the newest state grant program. The purpose of this grant is to increase the education and skills of Arkansas’s workforce in an affordable manner. The grant applies to students enrolled in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) or regional high demand areas of study. The grant will cover tuition and fees for qualifying certificate and Associate degree programs at Arkansas’ public institutions for eligible students. The grant is available on a first come, first serve basis.
Scholarship Deadline to Apply: August 1

Arkansas Health Education Grant (ARHEG) - Graduate Students
ARHEG provides financial assistance to students seeking professional training in chiropractic medicine, dentistry, optometry, osteopathic medicine, podiatric medicine, and veterinary medicine to allow them to attend out-of-state institutions.
Scholarship Deadline to Apply: July 1

Arkansas Workforce Challenge - High school
The Workforce Challenge Scholarship was created in the 2017 legislative session and is funded by lottery revenue. The purpose of the scholarship is for workforce training in high demand areas of healthcare, information technology, and industry. Classes are not limited to credit-bearing programs. Non-credit, workforce-training classes that fit into the three above categories may also qualify. The Workforce Challenge Award will be the cost of a certificate program or program of study not to exceed $800. Students who receive the Arkansas Workforce Challenge scholarship cannot be current recipients of the Academic Challenge Scholarship.
Scholarship Deadline to Apply: At least 30 days prior to enrollment in an eligible program.

Governor’s Distinguished Scholarship - High School
The Governor’s Distinguished Scholarship is the most academically rigorous scholarship program offered for those graduating seniors scoring either 32 on the ACT or 1410 on the SAT, and a 3.50 academic grade point average. Those who are named National Merit Finalists or National Achievement Scholars may qualify without meeting the GPA requirement, but must still meet the ACT/SAT requirement. The scholarship pays tuition, mandatory fees, room and board up to $10,000 per year.
Scholarship Deadline to Apply: February 1

Law Enforcement Officers’ Dependents Scholarship (LEO) - Other
LEO provides a waiver of tuition, fees, and room at any public college, university, or technical institute in Arkansas for dependents and spouses of Arkansas law enforcement officers, some Highway and Transportation Department employees, and other public employees, who were killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty.
Scholarship Deadline to Apply: July 1

Military Dependents Scholarship (MDS) - Other
MDS provides a waiver of tuition, fees, room and board at any public college, university, or technical institute in Arkansas for dependents and spouses of Arkansans who were killed or missing in action or who were prisoners of war or who are totally and permanently disabled.
Scholarship Deadline to Apply: July 1

Reimagine Arkansas Workforce Project
The Reimagine Arkansas Workforce Project provides funding for qualifying individuals to complete online training at no cost in order to meet workforce needs across the state. Arkansans who are unemployed, underemployed, are new to the workforce and/or have no work history, are a member of an underrepresented population, receive public assistance, reside in rural areas, are a veteran, are the spouse of a veteran, are homeless, are 55 years of age or older, previously incarcerated, have been paroled, or are on probation, are encouraged to apply.
Learn more or apply at

Single Parent Scholarship - Other
Single Parent Scholarships (SPSF) are given to low-income single parents who are pursuing post-secondary education in preparation for skilled employment. Scholarship Funds are administered by affiliate organizations and volunteers in each county of Arkansas. Eligibility criteria and application requirements vary by county. To apply for a scholarship or to get involved, contact the affiliate SPSF serving the county you live in.

Federal Grants and Financial Aid

Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS Loan) – Parents can borrow a PLUS Loan to help pay your education expenses if you are a dependent undergraduate student enrolled at least half time in an eligible program at an eligible school. PLUS Loans are available through the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program and the Direct Loan Program. Your parents can get either loan, but not both, for you during the same enrollment period. They also must have an acceptable credit history. For a Direct PLUS Loan, your parents must complete a Direct PLUS Loan application and promissory note contained in a single form that you get from your school’s financial aid office. For a FFEL PLUS Loan, your parents must complete and submit a PLUS Loan application available from your school, lender, or your state guaranty agency. After the school completes its portion of the application, it must be sent to a lender for evaluation. Parents must agree to repay the loan within 10 years, beginning 60 days after the funds are fully disbursed.

Pell Grant – A Federal Pell Grant, unlike a loan, does not have to be repaid. Pell Grants are awarded usually only to undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor’s or a professional degree. (In some cases, however, a student enrolled in a post-baccalaureate teacher certification program might receive a Pell Grant.) Pell Grants are considered a foundation of federal financial aid, to which aid from other federal and nonfederal sources might be added.

Perkins Loan – A Federal Perkins Loan is a low-interest loan for both undergraduate and graduate students with exceptional financial need. Federal Perkins Loans are made through a school’s financial aid office. Your school is your lender, and the loan is made with government funds. You must repay this loan to your school.

Stafford Loan – You must fill out a FAFSA. After your FAFSA is processed, your school will review the results and will inform you about your loan eligibility. You also will have to sign a promissory note, a binding legal document that lists the conditions under which you’re borrowing and the terms under which you agree to repay your loan.

Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant – Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG) are for undergraduates with exceptional financial need. Pell Grant recipients with the lowest EFCs will be the first to get FSEOGs. Just like Pell Grants, FSEOGs don’t have to be paid back.

Work-Study – Federal Work-Study (FWS) provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. The program encourages community service work and work related to the recipient’s course of study.

Disclaimer: The laws, rules, regulations, award amounts, amount of awardees, eligibility criteria, funding per program, etc. are subject to change at any point prior to, during or after application through the YOUniversal application. These changes will be based on changes in law or funding provided by the Arkansas General Assembly. It is understood that ADHE is not at fault for any changes that occur to any financial aid program. In addition, awards for all ADHE programs are limited by the availability of funds.
Source: Arkansas Department of Higher Education

How will I pay for College?

Financial Aid FAQs

If you are planning to attend college, you should do a little research first. Find out how much it will cost to go to college, what part of that cost you and your family will be expected to pay, and what types of financial aid are available. The following information is intended to get you started.

  • What is Financial Aid?
  • Financial aid is money awarded to a student to help pay educational costs. Most financial aid is awarded according to individual need and educational costs. The federal government, state government, postsecondary institutions, and private organizations provide financial aid to eligible students in the form of grants, scholarships, loans, and employment.
  • Grants and scholarships are awarded based on either financial need or merit and do not have to be paid back. Employment can be a job provided by the college and can be on or off campus. A loan is money provided by a bank, the college, or the government, which must be paid back with interest.
  • Private sources of financial aid come from social and civic organizations, religious organizations, and businesses.
  • How much does it cost to attend college?
  • Educational costs can differ significantly from one school to another, depending on the type of school and your program of study. In general, costs are lowest at a public vocational-technical school, higher at a public community or technical college, still higher at a public four-year college, and highest at a private college.
  • The total cost of attending school today may range from $2,000 per year to more than $30,000 per year. Financial Aid programs have been created to help you pay for these costs. Schools with higher costs often have more financial aid available than lower cost schools. Therefore, when comparing costs, it’s very important to determine the financial aid available. This way you can determine what your out-of-pocket expenses will be.
  • But remember, cost is only one factor in selecting a school. Consider your goals, what programs and opportunities each school offers, and how well that school will help you meet your goals.
  • What do educational costs include?  
  • The total educational costs are called the Cost of Attendance (COA) and include (1) tuition and fees, (2) books and supplies, (3) room and board, (4) transportation, and (5) miscellaneous personal expenses, such as clothing, laundry, and recreation. Because the COA includes items that are living costs but are not paid directly to the school, the actual amount billed by the school will be less than the COA.
  • What is the family’s responsibility?
  • The primary responsibility for financing a college education rests with the student and his family. The family is expected to pay for the cost of college to the extent that it is able. Financial assistance is designed to help with the difference between what the family can afford and the cost of attendance. The student shares in the family’s responsibility to pay for college and is expected to contribute from his earnings and savings.
  • The amount the family is expected to pay toward the cost of college is called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
  • How is the family’s expected contribution determined?
  • Colleges, government agencies and organizations that award financial aid based on financial need use a process called Needs Analysis to determine how much the family is expected to pay towards the cost of a college education. This process uses both the parent’s and student’s income and assets and other information about the family, such as the number in college, to calculate the Expected Family Contribution. During the needs analysis calculations, certain allowances are applied to protect the family’s income and assets for the cost of living and future retirement needs. 
  • The needs analysis is performed by the U.S. Department of Education based on the information provided by the family on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This is the basic form required for most financial aid programs based on financial need. Any student who wishes to apply for financial assistance should complete and submit this application. The FAFSA application can be applied for online at
  • How is eligibility for financial aid determined?
  • Most financial aid is awarded based on financial need. The Cost of Attendance minus the Expected Family Contribution equals financial need. The school you attend uses the EFC calculated during needs analysis and the school’s cost of attendance to determine your eligibility for need-based financial aid. Some aid is merit based, meaning eligibility is based on performance or achievement, such as athletic scholarships or academic scholarships based on ACT scores, or GPA.
  • How much financial aid can I receive?
  • The total financial aid a student receives can include funds from more than one source or financial aid program. Normally, though, the total financial aid received will not exceed the financial need, or in some cases, the cost of attendance. For the best chance of getting the aid you need, apply as early as possible for each financial aid program for which you might be eligible.

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