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Financial Aid Programs

Federal Student Aid

Arkansas Student Aid

Grant Arkansas Academic Challenge
     Pell Grants Governor's Distinguished Scholars Program
  Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grants  Arkansas Governor's Scholars
  Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants  Law Enforcement Officers' Dependents Scholarships
Loans Higher Education Opportunities Grant (GO!)
  William D. Ford Federal Direct Stafford Military Dependents Scholarships
  Direct PLUS Loans Arkansas National Guard Tuition Incentive Program              
Campus-Based Programs The State Teacher Education Program (STEP)
  Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants The Workforce Improvement Grant
  Perkins Loan

Federal Student Aid

There are three categories of federal student aid: grants, loans and work-study. Grants provide financial aid that does not have to be repaid. Loans provide borrowed money that must be repaid with interest. Work-study allows students to earn money to help pay for education expenses while enrolled in school. More information on federal student aid can be found at


  • Federal Pell Grants are available to undergraduate students only (with one minor exception for teacher certification students). Grants do not have to be repaid. Pell Grant awards for the 2013-14 award year (July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014) will range up to a maximum of $5.550. You can receive the Federal Pell Grant for no more than 12 semesters or the equivalent.

  • Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grants are for undergraduate or graduate students who are completing coursework to become an elementary or secondary school teacher in a public or private elementary or secondary school that serves students from low income families and meets other requirements. Undergraduate students may receive up to $4,000 per year to a $16,000 aggregate. Graduate students may receive up to $4,000 per year to an $8,000 aggregate.

  • Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants are for students whose parent or guardian died as a result of military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after 9/11/2001, and who, at the time of the parent's or guardian's death were less than 24 years old or were enrolled at least part-time at an institution of higher education. The grant is for students who are not Pell-eligible. Students may receive up to $5,550.


  • William D. Ford Federal Direct Stafford Loans are student loans that must be repaid and are available to both undergraduate and graduate students. The federal government provides the funds for Stafford Loans through your school. A subsidized loan is awarded on the basis of financial need. If you’re eligible for a subsidized loan, the government will pay (subsidize) the interest on the loan while you’re in school, for the first six months after you leave school, and during any periods when payments are deferred (postponed). For an unsubsidized loan, you are responsible for the interest from the time the unsubsidized loan is disbursed until it is paid in full.

  • Direct PLUS Loans are unsubsidized loans made to parents of dependent undergraduate students and to graduate or professional students. A graduate or professional student must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the school must determine the student’s eligibility for the maximum annual amount of a Direct Stafford Loan (subsidized or unsubsidized) before the student may apply for a PLUS Loan. A dependent undergraduate student whose parent is unable to obtain a PLUS Loan may borrow additional Stafford Loan funds at higher loan limits otherwise available only to independent undergraduates. Direct PLUS Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2006, have a fixed interest rate of 7.9 percent.

Campus-Based Programs

  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants are grants available for undergraduates only; awards range from $100-$4,000 based on financial need.

  • Federal Work-Study provides jobs to undergraduate and graduate students, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses.

  • Federal Perkins Loans are low-interest (5 percent) loans that must be repaid; the maximum annual loan amount is $5,500 for undergraduate students and $8,000 for graduate students.

Arkansas Student Aid

Arkansas Academic Challenge

The Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship is being funded by proceeds from the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery, as well as general revenues.

Who can apply? High school seniors, college students who do not already receive this scholarship and adults desiring to return to school may all apply.

When to apply? The deadline is June 1st every year. Even though this scholarship is not need-based, all applicants must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in addition to the YOUniversal application.

Traditional Students:  High school seniors who qualify based on their high school performance. Students graduating from an Arkansas public high school must complete Smart Core and attain either a GPA of at least 2.5, OR an ACT composite of at least 19 (or an equivalent score on an equivalent test, or pass all state-mandated end of course exams). Seniors who will be graduating from a private or out-of-state high school, or who are home-schooled, will qualify with a 19 on the ACT, or an equivalent score on an equivalent exam.

Non-Traditional Students:  Students who are currently in college and did not receive Challenge, as well as adults who have completed some college but do not have a degree. Non-traditional students will qualify with a cumulative college GPA of at least 2.5. If the college GPA is below 2.5, they can qualify with an ACT of 19 (or an equivalent score on an equivalent test). Adults with no college can qualify for the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship if they have an ACT of 19 (or an equivalent score on an equivalent test).

Freshman $2,000 $2,000
Sophomore $3,000 $2,000
Junior $4,000 N/A
Senior $5,000 N/A

Previous recipients of the scholarship will continue to receive the amounts stipulated in their original award.

Renewal:  Traditional students must enroll in at least 12 hours the first fall semester following high school graduation, and at least 15 hours each semester thereafter, to receive their funds that semester. They must complete at least 27 hours their first year, and at least 30 hours each year thereafter, with a 2.5 cumulative GPA. Non-traditional students may enroll in as few as six hours and still receive a pro-rated scholarship amount. They must also maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5, and their continuing eligibility requirement is related to their semester enrollment.

Governor’s Distinguished Scholars Program

Who May Apply: Governor’s Distinguished applicants must possess a 1410 SAT or 32 ACT composite score and a 3.5 GPA, or the standing of National Merit and National Achievement Finalist.

Award: 300 Scholars up to $10,000 per year.

Deadline: February 1

Arkansas Governor’s Scholars

Who May Apply: Governor’s recipients must hold the equivalent of a 27 ACT composite or 1220 SAT, or a 3.5 GPA.

Award:  75 Scholars up to $4000 per year.

Deadline: February 1

Higher Education Opportunities Grants (GO!)

Who May Apply:  Undergraduates who have been accepted to an approved Arkansas institution.

Award:  Up to $1,000

Deadline:  June 1

Law Enforcement Officers’ Dependents Scholarships

Who May Apply: Undergraduates who are dependent children or spouses of persons killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty as a law enforcement officer, firefighter, forester, correctional officer, Community Punishment Department or Transportation Department employees.

Award: Waive in-state tuition, mandatory fees, and on-campus room charges.

Deadline: June 1

Military Dependents Scholarships

Who May Apply:  Students who are dependent children or spouses of persons who were killed or missing in action, or who were prisoners of war, or permanently and totally disabled through military service.

Award:  Waives in-state tuition, on-campus room and board, and mandatory fees at eligible Arkansas institutions.

Deadline:  June 1

The State Teacher Education Program (STEP)

Who May Apply:  Eligible educators who are practicing in a geographic and/or subject shortage area of the state, or who are minorities, and have outstanding federal student loan debt.

Award:  $3,000 to $4,000

Deadline:  June 1

The Workforce Improvement Grant

Who May Apply:  Students aged 24 and older who are considered non-traditional student returning to school.

Award:  Up to $2,000

Deadline:  Set by each institution

Arkansas National Guard Tuition Incentive Program

Who May Apply:  Active members of the Arkansas Army/Air National Guard

Award:  Up to $5,000 per year based on number of hours enrolled

Apply:  One must contact their unit commander and/or visit

Note: The YOUniversal application does not apply for this program.

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