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ADHE awards nearly 10,500 Academic Challenge Scholarships to recent high school grads | Schools

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ADHE awards nearly 10,500 Academic Challenge Scholarships to recent high school grads
ADHE awards nearly 10,500 Academic Challenge Scholarships to recent high school grads

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Today the Arkansas Department of Higher Education announced nearly 10,500 students from the high school class of 2011 have been awarded Academic Challenge Scholarships for the upcoming academic year and were notified via email. The number was increasing by the hour as applications were processed.

“We are pleased to award these students who have worked hard to prepare for continuing their education,” said Shane Broadway, interim director of ADHE, “and we encourage them to log into the ADHE website – the sooner the better – to accept the award.

Additional recent high school graduates who haven’t completed the YOUniversal Scholarship Application yet may still qualify. Current students who have not previously received the Academic Challenge Scholarship and returning students should also apply by June 1. Any supporting materials required for application must be submitted by June 15.

Each student who graduates from an Arkansas high school in 2011 and completes the eligibility qualifications is guaranteed to receive Academic Challenge Scholarships funds through the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery under the current legislation but must accept the award to receive the funding. Those enrolled at four-year universities will receive $4,500 and those at two-year colleges will receive $2,250.

As part of his State of the State address earlier this year, Gov. Mike Beebe declared his goal of doubling the number of degree holders in the state by 2025.

“We know that students often drop out of school due to financial issues,” said Broadway, “and we hope the Academic Challenge Scholarship helps ease the burden and overcome that barrier to achieving a college degree.”

All recent high school grads are guaranteed to be funded, but any remaining scholarship dollars will be awarded to currently enrolled and returning students based on a prioritization process that takes into account students nearest to graduation, grade point average and those in critical needs areas, such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Beginning this year the application deadline for all of the state’s financial aid programs is June 1 for both the fall and spring semesters for the upcoming academic year. Late last month, ADHE unveiled a free smart phone application – the first of its kind with customer service help available via text – for students to use in applying for state financial aid and to check the status of their awards.

Last year, the Academic Challenge Scholarship was awarded to more than 31,000 students – from traditional recent high school graduates to non-traditional students. A large number of students are expected to maintain their eligibility and continue receiving the monetary award for the upcoming year.

Those who received the scholarship last year will continue to receive $5,000 and $2,500 respectively, as long as their continuing eligibility requirements are met. Students who have completed their continuing eligibility requirements must log into their account at www.adhe.edu to accept the award for the academic year. Those who haven’t met continuing eligibility requirements have an opportunity to complete additional credit hours and improve grade point averages if needed during the summer term.

The homepage of the agency’s website – www.adhe.edu – should provide answers to most questions and easy access to information, officials said.

The ADHE is responsible for carrying out the policy directives of the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board, approving and reviewing college and university academic programs and developing funding recommendations for the state’s 11 public universities and 22 public two-year colleges as well as several other post-secondary entities.

In addition, the agency is responsible for distributing approximately $170 million annually from state revenues and lottery funds intended to ease the financial burden of students seeking an education beyond high school. For more information, visit www.adhe.edu.