Governor’s Distinguished Scholarship
Important Note: The following information is intended as a general overview of the program for those who are applying, or who are considering applying, for the scholarship, and is not intended to be a comprehensive compilation of program requirements. For complete information please refer to the program’s rules and regulations.
Governor’s Distinguished Scholarships - students who meet the following minimum eligibility criteria are eligible to be named Governor’s Distinguished Scholars: either a 32 composite score on a single ACT or 1410 combined math and critical reasoning score on a single SAT AND either a 3.50 academic grade point average or selection as a National Achievement Finalist or National Merit Finalist. (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). If funding allows, up to 375 Governor’s Distinguished Scholars may be named. If there is a county in Arkansas that does not have a Distinguished Scholar, the highest ranking applicant from that county will be awarded a Governor's Distinguished Scholarship.
Financial need of the student is not a factor in the award of the scholarship, therefore no financial information is required. (You do not have to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be eligible for this scholarship.)
Amount of Governor's Distinguished Scholarship
The Governor’s Distinguished Scholarship will pay up to $10,000 per year for tuition, mandatory fees, room and board.
The scholarship will be disbursed by the institution the student is attending and will be apportioned according to that institution’s academic terms. The student must be enrolled in at least 15 semester credit hours (12 semester credit hours the fall term of the freshman year) to receive funds for that term.
When this scholarship is combined with other scholarship funds, the total amount of the student’s financial aid package cannot exceed the cost of attendance at the higher education institution where the student attends. If a student receives a total financial aid package that exceeds the cost of attendance, the amount of this scholarship or other scholarships may be reduced.
Eligibility Criteria for Candidacy for Governor's Scholar
Starting with 2016 High School graduates the Governors Scholar program is no longer taking new applications.
Any person who meets the following eligibility requirements may apply to become a Governor’s Scholar.
- The minimum standard to apply is a high school grade point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale in academic courses OR an ACT composite score of 27, OR a combined SAT score of 1220. The highest score attained on a single test will be used to determine ACT composite or SAT combined score. Test scores must be earned by December 31 prior to the application deadline. This criteria is only the eligibility to apply; there is no assurance of award.
- Leadership capabilities must be demonstrated.
- To receive the Governor’s Scholarship, the student must enroll full-time as an undergraduate student at an eligible public or private college or university in Arkansas in the fall semester immediately following high school graduation.
- The student or one parent must be a bona fide resident of the State of Arkansas for at least the six consecutive months immediately prior to the application deadline. To be considered a resident of the State of Arkansas for the Governor’s Scholars Program, a dependent student is considered a resident only when his/her/parents reside within the state and are classified as residents who pay taxes, vote, have Arkansas licenses, etc.
- The student must be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident alien. Permanent resident aliens must include a copy of their permanent resident alien form to the Arkansas Department of Higher Education with the application.
Renewal of Scholarships
Governor’s Distinguished Scholar awards may be renewed for three academic years in addition to the initial award year, provided the Governor’s Distinguished Scholar has maintained a minimum 3.25 cumulative grade point average on a 4.0 scale at the end of each academic year and has completed 27 semester credit hours in the first academic year and 30 semester credit hours per academic year thereafter. If the Governor’s Distinguished Scholar fails to meet these requirements at the end of the academic year, the scholarship will be revoked. There are no provisions for probation or reinstatement.
The Governor’s Scholars Award may be renewed for three academic years in addition to the initial award year, provided the Governor’s Scholar has maintained a minimum 3.0 cumulative college grade point average on a 4.0 scale at the end of each academic year and has completed 27 semester credit hours the first academic year and 30 semester credit hours per year thereafter. If the Governor’s Scholar fails to meet these requirements at the end of any one academic year, the scholarship will be revoked. There are no provisions for probation or reinstatement.
Students who receive either award and complete their baccalaureate degree in less than four (4) years may use the remaining term of the award at any Arkansas postgraduate school or at certain approved graduate programs within the southern region, where no identical program exists in the state of Arkansas. The maximum term will not exceed four academic years.
A Scholar who withdraws from an institution may owe a refund to the Arkansas Governor’s Scholars Program if the above action occurs before the end of the institutional tuition refund period.
A Governor’s Scholar may temporarily withdraw from the program after the fall semester of the freshman year for a period of time up to one year, upon written petition to the Arkansas Department of Higher Education. The petition must be received by October 1 for the fall term and February 1 for the spring term. Failure to petition the Arkansas Department of Higher Education in writing for a temporary withdrawal from the program by the dates specified above will result in a loss of the award. Failure to enroll at an approved college or university following the temporary withdrawal will also result in the loss of the award.
Acceptable hold reasons are as follows:
- Student’s illness
- Family member’s illness
- Death in the family
- Financial hardship
- Military training
- Military deployment
- Internship or co-op
- Need an additional semester to earn an associate’s degree, or to complete pre-requisites for a specific program
Transfer of Scholarship
A Governor’s Scholar may change his/her choice of college prior to registration and may transfer between approved institutions during the school year. The deadline for notifying ADHE of a change in colleges is October 1 for the fall term and February 1 for the winter and/or spring terms. Failure to notify the Governor’s Scholars Program in writing of this institutional change by these dates will result in the loss of the award for the term in question.
The application deadline is February 1 of the year of high school graduation. The application and all supporting documentation, except National Merit/Achievement Finalist status notification, must be received by the deadline. Applications submitted after then will not be considered.