Paying for college can be a challenging feat, but one powerful strategy to lessen your bills is to apply for scholarships. Even if you think winning is a long shot, submitting a scholarship application is worth a try.
If you’re a college student in the Natural State, you might be eligible for Arkansas scholarships available only to residents. Check out these six state-based scholarships and see if you qualify.
1. R. Preston Woodruff Jr. Scholarship
Each year, the Arkansas Student Loan Authority provides several scholarships to college students in the state under the R. Preston Woodruff Jr. Scholarship program. One of the scholarships awarded in each round is renewable for up to four years.
To be eligible, you must be an Arkansas resident who is a high school senior or current college student. Winners are chosen randomly.
Award amount: You could win $1,000 (and possibly the chance to renew your award each year, for a maximum of $4,000).
Deadline: It’s April 1 each year.
How to apply: Complete the college quiz on the state agency’s website. At the end of the quiz, submit your scholarship information and an essay.
2. Cornerstone Scholarship Charitable Trust
This scholarship from the Cornerstone Scholarship Charitable Trust is available to economically disadvantaged African-American high school graduates from Arkansas.
You must be a high school graduate when you apply for the scholarship and plan to attend an accredited university, college, or vocational school. You also must be between the ages of 17 and 25 and “have roots” in Arkansas.
Award amount: How much you could win varies depending on financial need, academic standing, and availability of scholarship funds.
Deadline: Applications must be received by June 30 of the calendar year before your enrollment date.
How to apply: Application instructions are available online. In addition to submitting an application form, you’ll need to write an essay of up to 250 words about your goals and background.
3. The Arkansas High-Tech Scholarship Program
The Arkansas High-Tech Scholarship Program awards aid to Arkansas students who enroll in a full-time technical program in the state. This scholarship is renewable through the duration of a four-year program.
To qualify, you must have a high school grade point average of at least 2.5 and meet minimum ACT or SAT scores or be ranked in the top 10% of your high school graduating class.
Award amount: You could win $250 per semester, up to a maximum of $500 per school year.
Deadline: It’s July 1 of each academic year.
How to apply: Find application instructions and award rules on the scholarship site. The application asks about your academic history and leadership abilities. You also will need to attach a copy of your high school transcript.
4. Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund
If you live in Arkansas and are a single parent, you might qualify for money to help you attend school through the Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund.
To qualify, you must have a GED or high school diploma, a 2.0 GPA, and a household income that does not exceed the U.S. government’s poverty guidelines by 250%. You also must pursue a certification or degree that’s expected to provide a reliable income.
Award amount: The award amount varies.
Deadline: The deadline varies by county. Check your county’s deadline on the scholarship fund’s website.
How to apply: Fill out an application and attach additional supporting documents. Every county has a unique application process, so check the requirements and follow the appropriate steps.
5. Bird Dog Foundation Annual College Scholarship Essay Contest
The Bird Dog Foundation’s essay contest was established to promote hunting, wildlife, and conservation as well as enjoyment of the great outdoors. The contest focuses on giving aid to college-bound students who are interested in gaining an education in all things outdoors.
To enter, you must be a high school senior headed off to college and either live in Arkansas or be associated with a bird dog club or field association.
Award amount: These one-time awards range from $1,000 to $2,000.
Deadline: It’s April 15 every year.
How to apply: Information on how long your essay should be, how to submit it, and each year’s theme is updated on the foundation’s website when submissions open.
6. Military Dependents Scholarship Program
The Arkansas Department of Higher Education administers the Military Dependents Scholarship Program, which covers a portion of the postsecondary tuition and fees of eligible students.
To be eligible, you must be a resident of Arkansas and a child or spouse of an Arkansas veteran who was killed or disabled in action. To renew the scholarship, you must maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA and complete 24 semester hours each academic year.
Award amount: The amount covers any unpaid tuition and fees after three months of Dependents’ Educational Assistance benefits have been paid.
Deadline: The dates are June 1 to apply and June 15 to submit relevant materials.
How to apply: Your application process might vary depending on your college, so check with your school’s financial aid office for specific instructions.
What if Arkansas scholarships aren’t enough?
Your scholarships might cover the full cost of college attendance. If your winnings aren’t enough to fund your entire college education, consider federal or private student loans.
Federal student loans are available from the government to help you attend school. They often have lower interest rates and more flexible terms than other types of loans. Depending on the type of federal loans you qualify for, you might not have to pay interest while you’re in school. You usually can qualify even if you have bad credit or no credit.
Private student loans, conversely, are offered by private institutions such as banks or online lenders. But watch out: You’ll begin incurring interest on these loans right away, and they might not offer the same flexibility or borrower protections as federal student loans.
Private student loans could help make college possible if you have no other options. Compare lenders to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
It might seem like you’ll never be able to afford the cost of a college education, but there are ways to make it possible. With Arkansas scholarships, loans, and a lot of financial planning, you can take steps to create the future of your dreams.
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