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The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery

by Staff Author · Published December 4, 2017 · Updated December 4, 2019

The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery has funded more than 270,000 scholarships for college students throughout the state. Since 2009, a total of $700 million in in-state tuition expenses have been granted. The program aims to help students pay for their education while providing a valuable source of entertainment for the community. If you’re an Arkansas resident planning to attend college within the state, this could lower the cost of your education. Here is an overview of how the scholarship works and what it could do for you.

How It Works

The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery has several games available. This includes Powerball, Mega Millions, Lucky for Life, Cash 3, Cash 4, and Instant Games (scratch-offs). When someone buys a lottery ticket for one of those games, a large portion of the revenue goes to find Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarships. Some money is reserved for lottery winners and for retailers who sell tickets, but millions of dollars are reserved purely for college scholarships. These awards are for Arkansas residents who attend college within the state.

Where to Apply

Arkansas residents can apply for lottery scholarships through the Arkansas Department of Higher Education. There are various awards available. This includes awards for upcoming high school graduates, current college students, former college students and high school graduates that have never attended college. As long as you have lived in Arkansas for at least 12 months and plan to stay in-state for college, you could be eligible for an ongoing scholarship. Application deadlines are posted on the department’s website, but they typically fall on June 1st.

Awards Available through the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery Program

The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery funds the Academic Challenge Scholarship. This award is divided into two categories: one for high school students and one for non-traditional students. The scholarship amounts are the same for both versions, but the eligibility requirements are slightly different.

Currently, the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship provides $1,000 for the first year; $4,000 for the second year; $4,000 for the third year and $5,000 for the fourth year. Students attending two-year colleges will receive $1,000 the first year and $3,000 the second year.

Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship for High School Students

If you are a high school student entering college after you graduate, all you need to qualify for an Academic Challenge Scholarship is an ACT score of 19 or higher. The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery program will also accept ACT equivalents. Accepted scores include 900 for the verbal and math sections of the SAT, a 40 ASSET score, a 64 COMPASS score, or a 79 ACCUPLACER score.

Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship for Nontraditional Students

Non-traditional students are those who do not enter college immediately after high school graduation. For instance, if you graduated from high school several years ago without attending college, you would be considered a non-traditional student. In this case, you need to have a 19 ACT score or higher, as well as a 2.5 GPA from an Arkansas high school or a 2.5 GPA after 12 hours of college courses.

Maintaining Eligibility for an Arkansas Lottery Scholarship

If you earn a scholarship through the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery, you must meet certain requirements to maintain eligibility during your second, third and fourth years in school. You must successfully complete 27 semester hours of college during your first year of college and 30 semester hours every year after that. You can still be eligible for a scholarship as a part-time student, but your award amount will be reduced.

Moreover, you must maintain a GPA of 2.5 while in college to continue receiving an Arkansas Lottery scholarship. You must be continuously enrolled in school. If you take a semester off, your scholarship will be placed on hold. You can only do this for a maximum of two semesters. The scholarship is eligible for renewal upon completing 130 semester hours, yet you meet all of these eligibility requirements.

If your degree requires you to be in school for longer than 130 semester hours, the Arkansas Lottery Scholarship committee will evaluate your circumstances. They will determine whether or not they will renew your award again. Furthermore, if you earn a bachelor’s degree before this benchmark, you will not be eligible for additional funding.

Need help finding scholarships? We have tips on where you can find some!

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Learn about the eligibility requirements and award amounts for the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery program, along with other scholarship application tips.

Arkansas lottery scholarship renewal

For students just beginning an education or going back to school, the lottery scholarship offers opportunities to pursue dream careers and secure financial futures.

That’s why you should mark July 1 on your calendar. That day is the deadline to apply for the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship, which has provided hundreds of millions of dollars in proceeds to help in the pursuit of higher education.

The Academic Challenge Scholarship is largely funded by the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery and provides tuition assistance to students at every state university and two-year college – both public and private. Applicants can be recent high school graduates, students already enrolled in school or non-traditional students at any stage in life. Additionally, the scholarship can be combined with other financial aid programs, such as the ArFuture Grant.

This fall marks the 10-year anniversary of the Lottery. In that time, 542,307 in-state scholarships worth more than $965 million have been awarded to students seeking both four-year and two-year degrees.

Funds are awarded for the Academic Challenge Scholarship based on a system that incentivizes student success. Individuals enrolled in four-year institutions can receive $1,000 for the first year. Those who continue in school and meet eligibility criteria are rewarded with $4,000 for both sophomore and junior years and $5,000 for senior year. At two-year institutions, students receive $1,000 for the first year and $3,000 for the second.

To be eligible for an Academic Challenge Scholarship, traditional students must have a minimum ACT score of 19 and be in pursuit of a baccalaureate degree, associate degree, qualified certificate or nursing school diploma. Non-traditional students need either a 19 on the ACT or a 2.5-grade point average (GPA) from the last education received. To maintain eligibility, students must keep a 2.5 GPA, take 30 hours each year and be an Arkansas resident for 12 months prior to enrollment.

Lottery proceeds also fund workforce training opportunities through the Arkansas Workforce Challenge Scholarship. This program pays for tuition and fees up to $800 per eligible program for high-demand occupations in healthcare, information technology and industry. Examples include dental assistants, aircraft mechanics, and computer programmers. Students must apply at least 30 days prior to enrollment in an eligible program.

During the recent legislative session, a law was passed to allow excess lottery proceeds to fund concurrent credit scholarships for high school juniors and seniors seeking college credit. Act 465, the Arkansas Concurrent Challenge Scholarship, will be available in January 2020 and applications must be made through the student’s public high school.

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