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Non-Traditional Recipient Info Sheet

Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship

Non-Traditional Category 

Information Sheet


Please read this information sheet very carefully; this sheet is intended as a quick reference for general rules and regulations regarding the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship.  Please find full rules and regulations for the scholarship on its information page on our official scholarship website at  This document will remain available for future reference through your Scholarship Application Management System (SAMS) account with the Arkansas Division of Higher Education (ADHE).  To access, you will click on “Details” under the scholarship in your SAMS account, and click on the Information Sheet button.  You can also print the document if you desire a copy for your personal records.  We will also notify you by e-mail if your scholarship status changes and requires action on your part.  A copy of every e-mail we send to you will be saved in the “Alerts” section of your SAMS account.






When you are initially awarded, you will be placed in the funding level below according to the number of hours you have already completed by the end of the Spring term of the academic year that you apply, as shown below.  The award amount will progress similarly to the chart below as you complete the amount of hours or semester payments.


Hours Already Earned Classification Initial Award Amount Payments Remaining
0 – 12 Freshman – Semester 1 $500/semester 8 Semesters
13 - 26 Freshman – Semester 2 $500/semester 7 Semesters
27 - 41 Sophomore – Semester 1 $2,000/semester* 6 Semesters
42 – 56 Sophomore – Semester 2 $2,000/semester* 5 Semesters
57 – 71 Junior – Semester 1 $2,000/semester* 4 Semesters
72 – 86 Junior – Semester 2 $2,000/semester 3 Semesters
87 – 103 Senior – Semester 1 $2,500/semester 2 Semesters
104 – 120 Senior – Semester 2 $2,500/semester 1 Semester

*Award amounts for these semesters are $1,500 at a two-year institution (this includes satellite campuses of four-year institutions and approved nursing schools that only offer two-year programs)


Students are not be eligible at a two-year institution if at 72 or more hours with 3 semesters or less of eligibility remaining.  If you reach this amount of reported earned hours or semester payments remaining, you will have to request a transfer or a hold until you transfer (see Holds, Transfers, Underenrollment, and Withdrawals below) to a four-year institution to receive the remaining semesters of eligibility.


Students must be enrolled in at least 15 semester hours (considered full-time for this scholarship) to receive the amounts stated above.  However, there is an allowance for Non-Traditional students who are enrolled in less than 15 hours.  If enrolling as a part-time student in less than 15 semester hours, your award amount for that semester is prorated by the rates below, with a minimum of 6 semester hours required for any amount.

  • Enrolled in 6-8 hours= 50%
  • Enrolled in 9-14 hours= 75%
  • Enrolled in 15+ hours=100%

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 and are over your Cost of Attendance Budget at your institution.




The award will be disbursed to the institution you are attending in accordance with its disbursement policies, typically in equal amounts for each term (Fall and Spring), after verifying you are enrolled in at least fifteen (15) semester hours each semester as of close of business on the 11th day of classes in a program of study leading to a bachelor’s degree, associate degree, or a qualified certificate.  If you have classes that start later in the semester (e.g. 2nd 8 weeks or Winter semester), you must be enrolled in those classes by the Census Date for the Fall or Spring semester in order for those hours to count towards your payment.  You must be enrolled in the appropriate number of credit hours at ONE institution each semester. This scholarship award and hours cannot not be split among multiple colleges in a semester unless there is a consortium agreement between the colleges for that student or that student's program (If you are paying both schools separately for your tuition and fee charges, your program is likely not under a consortium agreement).


You have the option to Hold your scholarship if you are not able to enroll, are underenrolled, or have to withdraw (see Holds, Transfers, Underenrollment, and Withdrawals below).  If you do not notify ADHE by the deadline for a hold request for a semester, your eligibility may be affected.


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 through a written appeal provided in your e-mail regarding being dropped or placed on probation for the scholarship. 


Students may use their Academic Challenge Scholarship for graduate or professional level degrees at an approved institution in Arkansas.  In order for a student to be eligible for this, they would have to complete their bachelor’s degree and have semesters of eligibility that were not paid out for the fourth year from the Academic Challenge.  Additional information to remain eligible for at the graduate level can be found on the Academic Challenge information page of our website in the Graduate School Eligibility Criteria section.


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.



  1. To renew your scholarship, you must earn a number of hours based on how you enroll for the academic year.  The academic year is defined as Fall, Spring, and then Summer in that order.  Classes in which an “F”, "I", "NC", or "AU" is received will not count towards this requirement.  For a semester you enroll in full-time (15 or more semester hours), you must carry at least 15 hours for that semester overall.  For a semester you enroll in part-time (less than 15 hours), you must carry at least 6 hours for that semester overall.  Total overall hours needed to be renewed for the scholarship in each situation are shown below. 
    1. 30 hours for the academic year – enrolls in two full-time semesters
    2. 21 hours for the academic year – enrolls in one full-time and one part-time semester
    3. 12 hours for the academic year – enrolls in two part-time semesters 
  2. Maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale. 
  3. Be enrolled in a program that leads to a baccalaureate degree, associate’s degree, or qualified certificate. 
  4. Meet the satisfactory academic progress (SAP) standards required by the institution where enrolled; and
    1. Complete all remedial courses required within the first thirty (30) semester hours attempted after receiving the scholarship; and
    2. Transfer to and enroll in courses at a 4-year institution that lead toward a baccalaureate degree after completion of 72 or more semester hours, an associate degree program, or five semesters of funding, whichever comes first. 
  5. 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.  
  6. Be continuously enrolled (each Fall and Spring term) unless the ADHE approves a leave of absence or hold request. 
  7. 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.  You are required to send ADHE your official transcript showing those Summer hours with grades by October 1 of each year. 
  8. 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 SAMS 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 amount of earned hours.  If you enter a transfer request through your SAMS account and subsequently decide not to transfer, you must notify the ADHE Financial Aid Office to have the transfer cancelled.

If you are underenrolled, withdraw, have a leave of absence from school, a hold may be allowed for up to two years (four fall and/or spring semesters) in total, provided you petition ADHE by completing a hold request form in your SAMS account.  To submit a hold, you will log into your SAMS account, click on “Scholarships” in the menu, and click the Request Hold button. This request must be received by October 1 for the Fall term and February 1 for the Spring term.

Failure to notify the ADHE of your intent to hold your scholarship, will likely result in the loss of your award. You will be notified by email to the primary address on your account when your hold request is processed.  If you are not sure if your situation qualifies, you can contact ADHE Financial Aid at 501-371-2050 or

Acceptable hold reasons are as follows:

  1. Student’s illness
  2. Family member’s illness
  3. Death in the family
  4. Financial hardship
  5. Military training
  6. Military deployment
  7. Internship or co-op
  8. Humanitarian endeavor
  9. 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 meet one of the following situations, whichever comes first:

  1. Earn a baccalaureate degree; or
  2. Receive the equivalent of eight (8) semester payments at an approved institution; or
  3. Earn a total of one hundred thirty (120) semester hours
    1. If your undergraduate program requires more than 120 hours to apply for graduation, not that you personally are taking longer than 120 semester hours to graduate due to transferring schools or changing programs, we can extend the 120 semester hour limit as long as you still have at least one of the 8 semester payments remaining


If you are placed on Probation or Dropped from the scholarship, exceptions will be allowed for extenuating circumstances through an appeal.  When you are placed on Probation or Dropped from your scholarship, you will be notified by e-mail of your options to remedy your situation.  One of those options is to appeal, and you can click the appeal form link in that e-mail to start that process.  An appeal normally consists of a letter or statement of your situation, a copy of your unofficial transcript, and documentation showing proof of those circumstances.  The appeal will be due by the date listed in the e-mail you receive regarding your Dropped or Probationary status.  Be aware that you are not eligible to reapply for the Academic Challenge Scholarship as a Non-Traditional student once you lose the scholarship under that category.