Arkansas Scholarship Lottery
The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery is a statewide system of games of chance (lotteries) implemented in 2008. It was introduced as an amendment to the state constitution as a means to generate revenue to fund scholarships for qualified high school graduates to attend college inArkansas post-secondary institutions.
The first scholarship funded by the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery was called the Academic Challenge Scholarship. This was a scholarship for Arkansas residents at any stage of their two- or four-year degree. The only requirement for eligibility is that the student achieves a score of 19 or higher on the ACT exam or a 990 or higher on the SAT exam. Awardees pursuing 2-year degrees will receive $1,000 their first year and $3,000 their second year. Awardees pursuing a 4-year degree receive $1,000 their first year, $4,000 their second and third year, and $5,000 their final year. It continues to be awarded annually.
In 2017, a second lottery-funded scholarship was added: the Arkansas Workforce Challenge. This scholarship funds students pursuing licensing and certificate programs in high-demand areas of healthcare, information technology, and industry. Students eligibility for this scholarship includes high school diploma or equivalency an acceptance to one of the Arkansas Department of Education’s approved programs listed on their website. Awardees will receive the entire cost of their certification program, up to $800. This is a non-renewable grant, but students who successfully complete their program are permitted to re-apply for another grant if the seek certification in another program.
These scholarships are meant for both traditional and non-traditional students. As is the case with federal student aid, these scholarships are not available to incarcerated individuals, and students using these scholarship funds must agree to refrain from illicit drug use during the tenure of the award. Except in special circumstances, students who fail to maintain their academics and are either dismissed or drop out of their program may be required to return their award. Scholarships funded by the Arkansas Scholarship lottery are only available to students who graduated from high school in the state of Arkansas, or non-traditional students who have established residency in the state of Arkansas for at least 2 years.
There is also a service component to the Academic Challenge Scholarship. The award stipulates that recipients are required to attend a training for literacy and college readiness, then they are required to serve as a literacy tutor for 20 hours for each year they receive the scholarship.