New Academic Challenge Scholarship income limits help more high school grads earn college cash

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

During the 2007 legislative session, the Arkansas Legislature again raised the income limits for the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship to $65,000 or less for a family of four, making thousands more families of high school students eligible for the four-year scholarship to any approved Arkansas college or university.

The new income limits will be highlighted in the Arkansas Department of Higher Education's annual statewide public information campaign to educate high school students and their families about the scholarship program, scheduled to launch next month. The campaign will also stress the requirement of taking the ACT this spring in order to qualify. Deadline to register for the Feb. 9 ACT is Jan. 4 with late registration scheduled for Jan. 5-18. The ACT will be offered again on April 12 with March 7 set for early registration, and March 8-21 for late registration.

The campaign, branded "Earn Cash 4 College," this year features the national champion Sylvan Hills High School cheerleaders and drumline and emphasizes the four steps in the process of earning the scholarship. A special focus is on the need to take the ACT and to apply before June 1. Students and parents are encouraged to visit the website arkansaschallenge.com to learn more about income and academic requirements, and to apply.

"Our campaigns have been such a success in getting the word out to students and their families that there is help available for college tuition," Tara Smith, Coordinator of Financial Aid at ADHE, said. "Thousands of Arkansas students who may not have had the financial ability to attend college are now enrolled and working toward their two and four-year degrees, which will ultimately raise the level of Arkansas' economy."

The campaign messages are set to air on TV stations throughout Arkansas, beginning in February and continuing through May. The campaign was developed and managed by Combs & Company, the Little Rock-based advertising and marketing firm.

More information is available on this and other state-funded scholarships by calling the ADHE Financial Aid Department at 501-371-2055.

It is estimated that 70 percent of Arkansas families financially qualify for the scholarship if students meet the qualifications. In order to earn the Academic Challenge Scholarship, which can award nearly $12,000 over four years, students must meet the minimum ACT, GPA and core curriculum academic criteria. The complete list of qualifications and application are available at www.arkansaschallenge.com or by calling (800) 54-STUDY. Applications are accepted from now to June 1.

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