Arkansas College Grants & Scholarships
No matter what your circumstances are, if you need help financing your college education, there are a number of grants and scholarship opportunities available to you through the State of Arkansas. Below you will find a comprehensive list of financial resources available for a variety of students interested in pursing higher education.
First and foremost, the following scholarships and grants are available directly from the State of Arkansas for students who are legal residents of Arkansas:
Scholarships Provided Directly by the State of Arkansas
The Arkansas Department of Higher Education Academic Challenge Scholarship offers up to $2500 every year for graduating high school seniors who complete the required precollegiate core curriculum. To be eligible an applicant has to have maintained a 2.5 or higher grade point average, receive a minimum score of 19 on the ACT, and demonstrate financial need. The application deadline is June 1st. The amount varies depending on individual circumstances and need.
The GO! Opportunities Grant is awarded based on financial need. It is required that all applicants fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be eligible. There are two deadlines: June 1st and November 1st.
The Arkansas Governor’s Scholars Program provides merit scholarships annually to 75 of Arkansas’ high school graduates (one per county), who have shown academic excellence and leadership, to help them continue their studies as undergraduates. This is a competitive scholarship, and to be eligible students must have scored a minimum of 27 on the ACT OR a minimum of 1220 on the SAT OR have an academic grade point average of 3.5. The deadline for this scholarship is February 1st. Recipients of this scholarship must enroll in an approved Arkansas university or college.
More information about these three scholarships, including how to apply for them can be found at the website of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, http://acs.adhe.edu/
Scholarships for All Circumstances
In addition to these scholarships, there are a number of programs that fund students who either choose a particular career trajectory, or who are eligible because of minority status, or specific personal or family circumstances. Although the list below is non-exhaustive, it represents the range of scholarships that are available both for students just starting college and for college students looking for ways to help fund continued education, or postgraduate degrees.
The Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund is a scholarship that assists single parents who want to further their education. To be eligible for this scholarship, the applicant must be a single parent and head of the household, have a financial need, and have a high school diploma (or GED). The applicant has to reside in the county in which he or she is applying for the scholarship. Deadlines vary by county. To apply for this scholarship, locate your county on the The Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund County Locator Page (http://www.aspsf.org/students_spscholarships.html) and contact the person on your county’s page with any to request a scholarship application.
The Arkansas Farm Bureau offers eight scholarships of $2000 per year to Farm Bureau members or children of Farm Bureau members. To be eligible for this funding, students must be Arkansas residents; be college juniors and seniors currently enrolled in an Arkansas accredited college or university, and have to pursue a degree in agriculture. Academic achievement is taken into consideration when funds are allocated, as is financial needs. Recipients must maintain a 2.5 GPA. The deadline is April 15th. The application is available for download in PDF format here: http://www.arfb.com/programs_activities/scholarships/
The Minority Teachers Scholarship offers up to $5,000 per academic year to minority students pursuing advanced degrees in education. In exchange, recipients must agree to teach in an Arkansas public school for five years after completing their teacher licensure requirements. To be eligible, applicants must be African-American, Asian-American, Native-American, or Hispanic ; be an Arkansas resident for at least six months prior to the application date; be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien; be enrolled full-time in an Arkansas public or private 4-year degree-granting institution; be at least a junior and have been admitted to an approved program resulting in teacher license (or have successfully passed their Praxis I examination); and demonstrate a minimum 2.50 cumulative grade point average. The deadline for applications is June 1st. Applications are available form the Arkansas Department of Higher Education website (http://www.adhe.edu/divisions/financialaid/Pages/fa_mtsp.aspx) from February 8th on.
The Arkansas Health Education Grant Program (ARHEG) provides assistance for certain out-of-state accredited medical and health professional schools for graduate and professional programs unavailable in Arkansas. This assistance is available for attendance at any accredited school of dentistry, school of optometry, school of veterinary medicine, school of podiatric medicine, school of chiropractic medicine or school of osteopathic medicine that is located outside the state; offers a full-time course of study in at least one of the eligible professions listed above; grants a degree acceptable to the relevant licensing board as either one of the requirements or the sole requirement of the licensing board’s award of the professional license. Deadlines vary, but funds are limited, so those interested in this program should contact the ARHEG coordinator as early as possible to request an application:
Arkansas Department of Higher Education
114 East Capitol Ave.
Little Rock, AR 72201-3818
Phone: 1-800-54-STUDY or (501) 371-2000
The Law Enforcement Officers’ (LEO) Dependents Scholarship program provides an eight-semester scholarship to any state-supported college, university, or technical institute in Arkansas to dependents of Arkansas residents who were killed or permanently disabled in the line-of-duty. Further application information is available from the Arkansas Department of Higher Education website (http://www.adhe.edu/divisions/financialaid/Pages/fa_leod.aspx)
Scholarships Offered by Specific Universities
A number of universities and colleges in Arkansas also offer funding based on merit and need, and applications for funding are a part of each university’s admission and financial aid applications.
The Dean’s Scholarship at the University of the Ozarks is an award of up to $6500 annually to students based on merit, as determined by specific grade point averages and ACT or SAT scores. The scholarships are available to students with ACT scores of 25 or higher or SAT scores of 1130 or higher, AND a grade point average of 3.0 or higher.
The Commitment to Excellence Scholarship at the University of the Ozarks offers up to $4500 annually to first-time college freshmen with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. There are some limitations with regard to concurrent achievement awards.
The University Center Scholarship at the University of Arkansas Fort Smith offers up to a full tuition and book fee for students majoring in business administration, computer and information systems, or accounting. The scholarship is merit-based, and to qualify students must have an ACT score of 26 or higher, a grade point average of 3.0 or higher, and have graduated in the top 25% of their class.
The Chancellor’s Scholarship at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville awards up to $8000 per year to first-time entering freshmen on a merit basis. This is a highly competitive scholarship for students at the top of the applicant pool. Typical recipients have a minimum of 3.75 grade point average, and a minimum ACT score of 28 or SAT score of 1240. The scholarship is renewable for 4 years, and architecture and MAT students have the option to renew it for a fifth year.
The Silas Hunt Scholarship Scholarship at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville awards between $5000 and $8000 per year to students from under-represented communities (not limited to under-represented ethnic or minority groups), who have demonstrated academic leadership qualities and outstanding potential. Eligible candidates may be students interested in studying a field that does not typically attract members of his/her gender or ethnicity, residence in an under-represented county in Arkansas, or a first generation college student.
Other merit-based scholarships for candidates from the top of the applicant pool at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville include The University Scholarship, valued at $4000 per year and renewable for 4 years, the Honors College Academy Scholarship, also valued at $4000 per year, and also renewable for 4 years (with an extra year available to Architecture and MAT students) and the Leadership Scholarship, of the same value and duration.
Many other Arkansas colleges and universities provide their own scholarships. Information about them can be found through the appropriate offices of individual universities, such as the Office of Academic Scholarships and the Office of Financial Aid.
Other Education Funding Sources
It is important to remember that in addition to funds allocated by the State of Arkansas and individual institutions, Arkansas students are also eligible for national scholarships that are either open to applicants from all states, or that may be administered through local chapters in Arkansas.
The Gates Millennium Scholars Scholarship, depending on the student’s financial need, may provide up to full tuition, fees, and room and board. This is a academically exceptional high school seniors, who are African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American or Hispanic American, for full-time study at an accredited university or college of their choice. To be eligible applicants must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.3 on a 4.0 scale; must demonstrate leadership abilities through participation in community service, extracurricular activities, or other relevant activities; and must meet the Federal Pell Grant eligibility criteria. There is a rolling deadline, as the application period is open from August 1st through January 12th, but due to the highly competitive nature of the program it is advisable to apply as early as possible. Applications are submitted online; please consult the Gates Millennium Scholar website (https://nominations.gmsp.org/GMSP_App/)
The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship Program offers up to $30,000 to approximately 35 students attending community colleges or two-year institutions who plan to transfer to four-year institutions. The scholarship assists with tuition fees, book fees, room and board, and matriculation fees. Applicants must have a 3.5 or higher grade point average, and have to be nominated by the Faculty Representative at their 2-year school. Applicants must apply to their Faculty Representative before the Foundation’s deadline (January 20th). Recipients are selected based on a combination of academic merit, financial need, evidence of leadership, record of public service, and evidence of critical thinking skills and an appreciation for the arts and humanities For application information please visit the Foundation’s website (http://www.jkcf.org/)
The National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (SMART) Grant provides up to $4,000 for both the third and fourth years of undergraduate study to full-time students who are U.S. citizens, eligible for a Federal Pell Grant, and majoring in physical, life, or computer sciences, mathematics, technology, or engineering or in a foreign language determined critical to national security. A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 in coursework required for the major is required of applicants.
An example of a national funding organization with a local chapter is the Executive Women International Scholarship Program (EWISP), which as the Little Rock Chapter in Arkansas. This scholarship offers up to $10,000 to qualified high school juniors, who first compete at the chapter level, and then have the opportunity to compete on the national level. Students must use this award toward earning a four-year degree at an accredited college or university. Applicants must be nominated either by their school or by a teacher between October and January. Nominated students are assessed based on their application materials, oral and written communication skills, creativity, academic excellence, involvement in extracurricular activities, leadership potential, awards and honors, and clearly defined and articulated career goals.
While this list of awards is representative of the types of awards that are available for the motivated Arkansas student, it is by no means exhaustive, especially when it comes to awards offered by individual institutions. Most institutions offer some forms of academic aid, whether through merit-based, or need-based scholarships, or both. Research into what grants and scholarships are available for your individual circumstances is a worthwhile investment; it can make college education affordable, and, in some instances, even free.