Arkansas Student Loans And Financial Aid Programs
Arkansas has several private student loan and financial aid programs that can help you pay for college. If you're going to be attending college in Arkansas, you need to be looking to take advantage of these programs.
These programs are designed to help make college more affordable - so that you can get the education you need. These programs can include scholarships, grants, and student loans.
Don't forget that there are Federal student loan programs available as well. You can find out more on how to get a Federal student loan here.
There is also a specific order of operations to pay for college that we recommend students follow. These programs specific to the State of Arkansas can help you to avoid borrowing more money than you need to.
Arkansas Student Loan Programs
Arkansas offers special student loans for Arkansas residents through the Arkansas Student Loan Authority (ASLA). These are private student loans and don't offer as many perks as traditional Federal loans. However, they do have some great rates if you qualify.
If you're just looking for private student loan options, we recommend:
- Credible - Like the Kayak of student loans, they help you shop around and compare options. Try Credible here.
- College Ave - One of the best private student loan lenders. Get A Quote At College Ave Here.
Check out our complete guide to finding the best student loans here.
Arkansas Scholarship Programs
Arkansas has several scholarship programs available to Arkansas students. You can learn more at the Arkansas Department of Higher Education.
Academic Challenge Scholarship
The Academic Challenge Program provides scholarships to Arkansas residents pursuing a higher education. For High School seniors, the only requirement is a 19 on the ACT or ACT equivalent score (990 on SAT) and the FAFSA are required.
The scholarship will provide up to $5,000 at 4-year institutions, and $3,000 per year at two-year institutions.
Learn more about the Academic Challenge Scholarship here.
Arkansas Concurrent Challenge
Qualified high school students who are also attending community college at the same time may be eligible to enroll in concurrent courses and be covered by the new Arkansas Concurrent Challenge Scholarship.
The scholarship will provide $125 per eligible course.
Learn more about the Arkansas Concurrent Challenge here.
Governor's Distinguished Scholarship
The Governor’s Distinguished Scholarship is the most academically rigorous scholarship program offered for those graduating seniors scoring either 32 on the ACT or 1410 on the SAT, and a 3.50 academic grade point average.
Those who are named National Merit Finalists or National Achievement Scholars may qualify without meeting the GPA requirement, but must still meet the ACT/SAT requirement.
The scholarship pays tuition, mandatory fees, room and board up to $10,000 per year, up to 4 years.
Learn more about the Governor's Distinguished Scholarship.
Arkansas Grant Programs
Arkansas has several grant programs that Arkansas students are eligible for. You can learn more at the Arkansas Department of Higher Education.
Grants are one of the best forms of financial aid because, in most circumstances, you don't have to pay the money back.
Arkansas Future Grant (ArFuture)
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.
You can learn more about the Arkansas Future Grant.
Arkansas Health Education Grant
The Arkansas Health Education Grant Program provides assistance to students seeking professional training in chiropractic medicine, dentistry, optometry, podiatric medicine, and veterinary medicine to allow them to attend out-of-state institutions.
The grant awards up to $21,900.
You can learn more about the Arkansas Health Education Grant here.
Teacher Opportunity Program (TOP)
TOP offers reimbursement grants to current Arkansas teachers and administrators seeking to further their education. Teachers and administrators may apply for reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses paid for up to six (6) college credit hours completed for an academic year, not to exceed $3000.
Learn more about the Teacher Opportunity Program.
Law Enforcement Officers’ Dependents Scholarship (LEO)
LEO provides a waiver of tuition, fees, and room at any public college, university, or technical institute in Arkansas for dependents and spouses of Arkansas law enforcement officers, some Highway and Transportation Department employees, and other public employees, who were killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty.
The scholarship provides up to eight semesters of collge to any state school.
You can learn more about the Law Enforcement Officers' Dependents Scholarship.
If you already have student loans and are looking for options as a Arkansas resident, check out our Arkansas Student Loan Forgiveness Program page. That page has all the different options available to Arkansas residents to potentially get some of your student loan debt forgiven.
You might also look at refinancing your student loans and saving money in interest while also potentially lowering your payment. Check out our guide on the Best Places To Refinance Your Student Loans.
If you're looking for ways to save for college in Arkansas, check out our guide to Arkansas 529 Plan and College Savings.
Finally, check out the other student loan and financial aid programs by state.
Editor: Colin Graves Reviewed by: Chris Muller