ADHE awards 8,000 Academic Challenge Scholarships to recent high school grads

Earlier this month, the Arkansas Department of Higher Education began notifying high school seniors who were awarded Academic Challenge Scholarships for the upcoming academic year. Of the 8,000 notified Tuesday in the first round of awards, some 3,500 had accepted by Thursday morning, and the numbers were increasing by the hour as applications were processed, awarded and accepted.
“We are pleased to award these students who have worked hard to prepare for continuing their education,” said Shane Broadway, interim director of ADHE, “and we encourage them to log into the ADHE website – the sooner the better – to accept the award.”
The application deadline for all of the state’s financial aid programs is June 1 for both the fall and spring semesters for the upcoming academic year, with all necessary materials required by that date as well. Submissions can be completed online at or through the free YOUniversal smart phone app. As of Thursday, 14,000 traditional students had begun or completed the application process, and 4,000 non-traditional students had applied.
Each student who graduates from an Arkansas high school in 2012 and completes the eligibility qualifications is guaranteed to receive an Academic Challenge Scholarship, funded in part through the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery. Those enrolled at four-year universities will receive $4,500 over the course of two semesters and those at two-year colleges will receive $2,250. Award amounts are set annually by the legislature.
Last year, the Academic Challenge Scholarship was awarded to more than 31,100 students – from traditional recent high school graduates to non-traditional students. A large number of students are expected to maintain their eligibility and continue receiving the monetary award for the upcoming year. Those who haven’t met continuing eligibility requirements have an opportunity to complete additional credit hours and improve grade point averages if needed during the summer term.
There are an additional 5,800 non-traditional students eligible for the scholarship, but current legislation limits funding to $12 million for that group of students. Any new awards for those students will be determined at a later date, based on funding availability.
Those who received the scholarship in 2010 will continue to receive $5,000 and $2,500 respectively, as long as their continuing eligibility requirements are met, while those awarded in 2011 will receive $4,500 and $2,250.
The ADHE is responsible for carrying out the policy directives of the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board, approving and reviewing college and university academic programs and developing funding recommendations for the state’s 11 public universities and 22 public two-year colleges as well as several other post-secondary entities.
In addition, the agency is responsible for distributing approximately $170 million annually from state revenues and lottery funds intended to ease the financial burden of students seeking an education beyond high school. For more information, visit