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Traditional Recipient Info Sheet

Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship
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.



The award amount for students attending a four-year institution are shown as below by year.

Year 1$1,000 ($500 per semester)
Year 2$4,000 ($2,000 per semester)
Year 3$4,000 ($2,000 per semester)
Year 4$5,000 ($2,500 per semester)

There is an allowance in the law for students who are receiving the fourth year of their scholarship at $5,000 that don’t need all 15 semester hours each semester to graduate.  If enrolling in less than 15 semester hours in the fourth year of the scholarship, your award amount for that semester is prorated by the rates below, with a minimum of 6 semester hours required for any amount.  The semester is considered paid in full even if awarded at the prorated amount.

  • Enrolled in 6-8 hours= 50% or $1,250
  • Enrolled in 9-14 hours= 75% or $1,875
  • Enrolled in 15+ hours=100% or $2,500

The award amount for students attending a two-year institution are shown as below by year (this includes satellite campuses of four-year institutions and approved nursing schools that only offer two-year programs).

Year 1$1,000 ($500 per semester)
Year 2$3,000 ($1,500 per semester)
5th Semester$1,500 (final semester at 2 year)

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 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 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).

Students that have completed concurrent credit while in high school have the option to bump their scholarship to the 2nd year 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 31 of their high school graduation year.  The form can also be found on our website; on the Academic Challenge information page.  This would mean a forfeiture of the first-year freshman funds. These students would be required to take 15 hours in their first Fall semester.

If you withdraw (see Holds, Transfers, Underenrollment, 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 for the next semester.

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.

NOTE: Arkansas Code Annotated 6-85-203(c) - Recipients of the Arkansas Governor's Scholars Program 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. 


  1. Successfully earn twenty-seven (27) semester hours the first academic year as a first-time freshman and thirty (30) semester hours per academic year each year thereafter (the academic year is defined as Fall, Spring, and then Summer in that order). Classes in which you received an “F”, "I", "NC", or "AU" will not count as earned hours towards this requirement.
  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 degree, or a 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;
    2. Transfer to and enroll in courses at a 4-year institution that lead toward a baccalaureate degree program 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 and 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 request 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.  If the appeal is not approved, you can reapply for the Academic Challenge Scholarship as a Non-Traditional student.