A college education has become a significant expense for most families and requires careful planning. Whatever your financial situation is, we encourage you to use this information to help you understand college funding so you can navigate the financial aid process with greater ease.

State Financial Aid

States provide many financial aid opportunities to help ease the cost of a college education. Please select the state you reside in to learn about state sponsored internships, scholarships and financial aid programs for undergraduate students and assistantships, fellowships, and residency programs for graduate and professional students.


For more detailed information on state financial aid programs contact:

Arkansas Division of Higher Education (ADHE)
426 Main Street
Suite 400
Little Rock, AR 72201
Phone: (501) 371-2000


The following are financial aid programs available to students who are residents of the state of Arkansas.

Academic Challenge Scholarship

The Arkansas Academic Challenge (ACS) Scholarship program is a college scholarship plan to promote academic achievement and encourage academically prepared Arkansas high school graduates to enroll in the state’s colleges and universities. The scholarship pays on a graduated schedule up to $5,000 annually and is renewable for up to 3 more years provided the student maintains a cumulative college grade point average of 2.75 on a 4.00 scale and completes 30 semester hours per academic year (12 semester hours the first semester and 15 semester hours each semester thereafter).


Must be a resident of Arkansas and complete the precollegiate core curriculum, have the required GPA in those courses, achieve at least a 19 on the ACT, and demonstrate financial need.

Contact your school’s financial aid office or your high school guidance counselor for an application.

Arkansas Health Education Grant Program

The Arkansas Health Education Grant Program (ARHEG), provides financial assistance to students seeking professional training in chiropractic medicine, dentistry, optometry, osteopathic medicine, podiatric medicine, and veterinary medicine to allow them to attend out-of-state institutions.

The ARHEG is administered by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE). Such assistance is currently available for attendance at any accredited school of dentistry, school of optometry, school of veterinary medicine, school of podiatric medicine, school of chiropractic medicine, or school of osteopathic medicine that

(a) is located outside the State; and

(b) offers a full-time course of instruction in at least one eligible profession; and

(c) grants, after completion of such course of instruction, a degree acceptable to the applicable licensing board as the sole requirement, or as one requirement, for the applicable licensing board’s granting of the applicable professional license.

Certification and Application

To receive ARHEG funding assistance to study chiropractic medicine, dentistry, optometry, osteopathic medicine, podiatric medicine or veterinary medicine, a prospective student must be “certified” as an Arkansas resident. Certification is a procedural process that is initiated by the student by completing the Application and Affidavit and submitting them to:

ARHEG Coordinator
Arkansas Division of Higher Education
426 Main Street.
Little Rock, AR 72201-3818
Phone: 1-800-54-STUDY or (501) 371-2000
Fax: (501) 371-2007
Email: finaid@adhe.arknet.edu

Arkansas Governor’s Distinguished Scholarship

– students who meet the following minimum eligibility criteria are eligible to be named Governor’s Distinguished Scholars: either a 32 composite score on a single ACT or 1410 combined math and critical reasoning score on a single SAT AND 3.50 academic grade point average, OR selection as a National Achievement Finalist or National Merit Finalist. The Governor’s Distinguished Scholarship will pay up to $10,000 per year for tuition, mandatory fees, room and board.

Law Enforcement Officers’ Dependents Scholarship Program

The Law Enforcement Officers’ (LEO) Dependents Scholarship program provides an eight-semester scholarship to any state-supported college, university, or technical institute in Arkansas to dependents of Arkansas residents in one of the categories below who were killed or permanently disabled in the line-of-duty:

  • Law enforcement officers
  • Full-time or volunteer firefighters
  • Municipal and/or college or university police officers
  • Sheriffs or deputy sheriffs
  • Constables
  • Game Wardens
  • Certain Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department employees
  • State forestry employees engaged in fighting forest fires
  • State correction employees killed or totally disabled due to contact with inmates or parolees
  • State park employees who are commissioned law enforcement officers or emergency response employees
  • Emergency Medical Technicians
  • Department of Community Punishment employees

The scholarship will reimburse the institution the cost of tuition, fees and dormitory room charges when provided in campus-owned facilities. The scholarship will not pay the cost of books, food, school supplies and materials, or fees for extracurricular activities. Dependent children are eligible to receive benefits for eight semesters and must be less than twenty-three (23) years of age on or before the first day of the semester or quarter. Spouses are entitled to an eight-semester scholarship. The spouse will no longer be eligible if he or she re-marries. The benefits will cease at the end of the semester in which the spouse is currently enrolled at the time of the re-marriage.

An Applicant must:

  • Be a bona fide Arkansas resident;
  • Be a citizen of the United States or permanent resident alien;
  • Be the biological, stepchild, legally adopted child OR spouse of an eligible Arkansas law enforcement officer;
  • Be enrolled, or be accepted for admission to, an approved school Arkansas public institution;
  • Provide required documentation as determined by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education in order to determine eligibility.

Call (501) 371-2050 or (800) 54-STUDY for an application.

Arkansas Future Grant (ArFuture)

General Information

Arkansas Future (ArFuture), is the newest state grant program. The purpose of this grant is to increase the education and skills of Arkansas’s workforce in an affordable manner. The grant applies to students enrolled in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) or regional high demand areas of study. The grant will cover tuition and fees for qualifying certificate and Associate degree programs at Arkansas’ public institutions for eligible students. The grant is available on a first come, first serve basis.

State Teacher Education Program

General Information

The State Teacher Education Program (STEP) provides assistance for eligible teachers with repayment of outstanding federal student loans. The Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE) shall administer the State Teacher Education Program (STEP) within the policies set by the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

The State Teacher Education Program recipients may receive:

  • Loan repayment for federal student loans in the amount of three thousand dollars ($3,000) per year for each year a licensed teacher who teaches in a public school located in a geographical area of the state designated as having a critical shortage of teachers OR in a subject matter area designated as having a critical shortage of teachers.
  • Additional loan repayment for federal student loans in the amount of one thousand dollars ($1,000) per year for each year a licensed minority teacher teaches in a public school located in a geographical area of the state designated as having a critical shortage of teachers and/or in a subject matter area designated as having a critical shortage of teachers in Arkansas.

Total term of federal student loan repayment shall not exceed three years.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Applicants must be bona fide Arkansas residents, as defined by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, for at least twelve (12) months prior to the application deadline.
  • Applicants must be a citizen of the United States or a permanent resident alien.
  • Applicant must have graduated from a teacher education program after April 2004.
  • Applicant must have outstanding federal student loans.
  • Applicant must hold a valid Arkansas teacher’s license.
  • Applicants must teach full-time at a public school district in Arkansas during the award year

In addition to the above, applicants must meet one of the additional criteria:

  • Teach in a subject area with a teacher shortage, as identified by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education in consultation with the Arkansas Department of Education; or
  • Teach in a geographic area with a teacher shortage, as identified by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education in consultation with the Arkansas Department of Education; or

Continued Eligibility

STEP recipient must re-apply each year and meet all eligibility requirements each year . Total term of federal student loan repayment shall not exceed three years.

Application Deadline

July 1st each application year.

Student Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program

SURF Applications

SURF applications must be received by November 1 at the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, 114 East Capitol, Little Rock AR 72201.

The Student Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program is designed to allow undergraduate students to conduct in-depth research projects in their specific fields of study with the assistance of faculty mentors. To be eligible to apply for these funds, students must have a minimum GPA of 3.25, 30 or more hours of credit toward his/her degree at the time of funding, and the support of a faculty mentor. The student must be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident alien.

Eligible Projects

All types of undergraduate research are eligible for support, and all academic disciplines are encouraged to apply. In addition to the usual science, engineering and mathematics projects, this program will support, for example, a philosophy major who is preparing a paper in the area of bioethics, or an art major who wants to sculpt a major project. Funds are provided for students to travel to conferences to present their accomplishments.

Required Materials for Application Submission

  1. SURF cover page (signed by mentor and institutional official)
  2. Mentor form and mentor’s vita (2 page maximum)
  3. Student form and student vita
  4. Current transcript and listing of current semester classes
  5. One page summary of proposed research
  6. Description of proposed research (maximum of 5 pages, doubled spaced)
  7. Budget and budget justification forms
  8. Letter of support from mentor
  9. Two letters of recommendation from faculty members
  10. Original application and one copy

Application Preparation Assistance: If you require technical assistance with preparation of your application, please call 501-371-2038.

Teacher Opportunity Program (TOP)

General Information

The Teacher Opportunity Program (TOP) offers tuition reimbursement grants to Arkansas teachers and administrators. Teachers and administrators may apply for reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses paid for up to six (6) college credit hours completed for each academic year, not to exceed $3000.

An applicant must:

  • Be an Arkansas resident twelve(12) months prior to the application deadline;
  • Be a citizen of the United States or permanent resident alien;
  • Have and maintain a current teacher and/or administrator license with the Arkansas Department of Education;
  • Be employed as a classroom teacher or administrator in Arkansas and declare intention to continue such employment in Arkansas;
  • Be enrolled in an approved institution of higher education in Arkansas;
  • Be enrolled in a college level course(s) directly related to employment;
  • Have at least a 2.50 cumulative GPA in the course(s) funded by the TOP Reimbursement Grant during the application period.

The amount awarded will be based on the tuition, mandatory fees, books, and required supplies paid by the applicant for six (6) college credit hours completed. Reimbursable fees are those required of all students. Costs such as graduation fees, late fees, car registration fees, and mileage are not reimbursable. Grants may not exceed the cost of the Arkansas public institution assessing the highest rate of tuition and mandatory fees or $3000, whichever is less.

If necessary, licensed teachers taking courses that apply towards an additional license in a subject matter declared to be a shortage area by the Arkansas Department of Education will receive first priority.

Application Deadline

July 1 each academic year.

Washington Center Scholarship

General Information

The Washington Center Scholarship Program is a program that awards scholarships of up to $6,000 to Arkansas students who are accepted to The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars located in Washington, D.C. The Washington Center (TWC) is an independent nonprofit organization serving hundreds of colleges and universities by providing selected students challenging opportunities to work and learn in Washington, D.C. TWC serves Arkansas students and society as a whole by encouraging participants to be informed, public-spirited and civically engaged for life. The institution’s academic experience is made up of three components: the internship, academic coursework, and the leadership forum. Students are placed, according to their interests, in supervised internships in governmental, international, for-profit or nonprofit organizations.

The Washington Center will select the students that are eligible to participate in the internship program for each applicable academic period. Of those selected students, ADHE will determine the number of students to be awarded the scholarship based on the amount of funds available. In the event there are more eligible applicants than funds available, awards will be determined on a first-come, first-serve basis. Those not awarded will be given priority for participation in a subsequent term. The amount of the reward for each recipient will be up to $6,000 for one-time participation in The Washington Center internship program.

Eligibility Criteria

Eligibility of Arkansas applicants to The Washington Center Scholarship program is conditioned upon admission to The Washington Center. In order for one to be enrolled at TWC, the institution requires that all applicants:

  • be enrolled in an accredited college or university as a second semester sophomore or above;
  • maintain a grade point average of at least 2.75 on a 4.0 scale;
  • receive academic credit from the student’s college or university for participation in the internship program; and,
  • receive the endorsement of the student’s campus liaison or faculty sponsor.

Additionally, the State of Arkansas requires, per Act 1046 of 2007, that all Arkansas applicants meet the following:

  • be an Arkansas resident and US citizen or permanent resident alien;
  • be enrolled in an eligible Arkansas institution that will grant academic credit for participation in The Washington Center Internship Program located in Washington D.C.;
  • meet The Washington Center admission requirements; and, be enrolled in a program of study, which leads to or is creditable towards a baccalaureate degree programs and associate degree programs.)
  • Application deadlines for domestic undergraduate and postgraduate students often are set on a space-available basis. All applicants are encouraged to apply many months in advance of the desired commencing academic term to maximize possibility of availability; and all applicants are encouraged to check The Washington Center’s website for up-to-date application deadlines: www.twc.edu

For more information, contact the ADHE financial aid division at 800-54STUDY or 501-371-2050; and, contact The Washington Center at 800-486-8921 or 202-238-7900.

Workforce Challenge

General Information

The Workforce Challenge Scholarship was created in the 2017 legislative session and is funded by lottery revenue. The purpose of the scholarship is for workforce training in high demand areas of healthcare, information technology, and industry. Classes are not limited to credit-bearing programs. Non-credit, workforce-training classes