Academic Challenge Scholarship Information Sheet

Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship

Traditional Category

Information Sheet

Please read the information included on this information sheet very carefully; it contains information you will need while you are an Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship recipient. This document will remain available for future reference through your YOUniversal account with the Arkansas Division of Higher Education (ADHE). You can also print the document if you desire a copy for your personal records.


Per Act 1250 of the 90th General Assembly, the award amount begins at $1,000 per year and increases to $4,000 the second year, $4,000 the third year, and $5,000 the fourth year for students attending a four-year institution. The award amount is $1,000 per year the first year and $3,000 per year for up to three additional semesters at two-year institutions (including branch campuses of four-year institutions and approved nursing schools).


The award will be disbursed to the institution you are attending in accordance with its disbursement policies, in equal amounts for each term (Fall and Spring), after verifying you are enrolled in at least twelve (12) semester hours the first Fall semester immediately following high school graduation, and fifteen (15) semester hours each semester thereafter, as of close of business on the 11th day of classes in a program of study leading to a bachelors, associates degree, or a qualified certificate. You must be enrolled in the appropriate number of credit hours at one institution each semester. This scholarship will not be split among multiple colleges in a semester.

Students that have completed concurrent credit while in high school have the option to bump their scholarship to a high award level. Students must have 27 hours completed by their high school graduation and complete the Request to Forfeit Freshman Award Form (click here) by July 1 of their high school graduation year.  This would mean a forfeiture of first year funds. These students would be required to take 15 hours in their first Fall semester.

Due to ACT 597 passed in 2017 students may use their Academic Challenge Scholarship for graduate or professional level degrees. In order for a student to be eligible for this they would have to complete their bachelors degree and have eligibility remaining from the Academic Challenge.

If you withdraw (see transfers and withdrawals below) or do not attend the first Fall semester immediately following high school graduation you must enroll in 15 hours each semester once you re-enroll.

If you receive scholarship funds for any Fall semester during your time in the Academic Challenge program, but do not earn any hours during that Fall semester, you will be dropped from the program immediately.  Exceptions will be allowed for extenuating circumstances that force your withdrawal. 

It is YOUR responsibility to update your YOUniversal account with any changes such as e-mail, name, residence, or institution.

NOTE:  Arkansas Code Annotated 6-85-203(c) - Recipients of the Arkansas Governor's Distinguished Scholarship are now allowed to receive the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarships under this subchapter, however the total award amount between the 2 scholarships cannot exceed $10,000 per year. 

This scholarship is awarded for one year and, provided funding is available, will be renewed for up to three years (four years total) until the completion of 120 hours or the receipt of a baccalaureate degree, whichever comes first.


Successfully complete twenty-seven (27) semester hours the first academic year and thirty (30) semester hours per academic year each year thereafter (Fall term through the Summer 2 term, does not include August intersession). Classes in which an “F” is received will not count towards these hours.
Maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale.
Be enrolled in a program that leads to a baccalaureate or associate's degree, or a qualified certificate.
Meet the satisfactory academic progress (SAP) standards required by the institution where enrolled; and

Complete all remedial courses required within the first thirty (30) semester hours attempted after receiving the scholarship; and
Enroll in courses that lead toward a baccalaureate degree program after completion of an associate degree program, or five semesters of funding, whichever comes first.

If enrolled in an eligible program in a 2-year college and you transfer to a 4-year college, you comply with the transfer requirements below.
Be continuously enrolled (each Fall and Spring term) unless the ADHE approves a leave of absence.
If your cumulative grade point average Falls below 2.5 or you have not completed the required amount of semester hours by the end of the Spring semester, you may enroll in Summer school, at your expense, following the Spring term to meet the requirement. The academic year consists of Fall, Spring and Summer terms in that order.  The August intersession is not included in the time you have to make up deficiencies.  You are required to send ADHE your official transcript showing those Summer classes by October 1.
You shall not be in violation of the drug-free pledge to refrain from the use or abuse of illegal substances. This includes alcohol for applicants less than twenty-one years of age.


You may transfer to another eligible Arkansas institution provided you update your YOUniversal account by October 1 for the Fall term and February 1 for the Winter or Spring terms. If transferring between Fall and Spring semesters, you must also submit a transcript from the school you are leaving showing that you have maintained both the required GPA and full-time status.  If you enter a transfer on your YOUniversal account and subsequently decide not to transfer, you must notify the ADHE Financial Aid Office to have the transfer cancelled.

Withdrawal from school for up to two years may be allowed, provided you petition ADHE by completing a Hold Request form (click here) and attaching supporting documentation. This petition must be received by October 1 for the Fall term and February 1 for the Spring term. Failure to notify the ADHE of transfer or desire to withdraw, by the appropriate dates, will result in the loss of your award. You will be notified by email to the address on your account when your withdrawal request is processed.  If you are not sure if your situation qualifies, you can contact ADHE Financial Aid at 501-371-2000 or

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
Humanitarian endeavor
Need an additional semester to earn an associate’s degree, or to complete pre-requisites for a specific program

Your Academic Challenge Scholarship can be renewed annually provided funding is available until:

You earn a baccalaureate degree; or
Earn a total of one hundred thirty (120) semester hours or eight (8) semesters at an approved institution as an undergraduate student. If your undergraduate degree requires additional hours, the ADHE, in conjunction with the approved institution for which you are enrolled, shall determine the maximum period of time for renewal of the scholarship.

Academic Challenge Scholarship funds must be used for expenses related to your education.

Please review the State Stacking Law (click here). You may be affected by this policy if you are receiving scholarship funds from other sources.


Due to changes to the Academic Challenge Scholarship law during the 2013 legislative session, students who receive scholarship funds during Fall semester, but do not complete any hours during that semester, will be dropped from the scholarship program immediately.  Exceptions will be allowed for extenuating circumstances that force your withdrawal, but you must send a letter of appeal with documentation to ADHE Financial Aid by February 1 of the following Spring semester.  You can reapply as early as the following Winter/Spring (January 1 through June 1) for a possible award as a non-traditional student for the next academic year.