by Max Brantley
The state Higher Education Department today reported an increase of more than 5 percent in the number of new high school graduates enrolling in Arkansas colleges with grades and test score necessary to win an Academic Challenge Scholarship. The number was 11,960, up 643 from the previous year.
Overall scholarships, including non-traditional students and "current achievers," those making grades needed to retain scholarships won when they entered college, dropped slightly, from 31,131 to 31,109. This is on account of graduation of previous recipients and the lack of additional money for non-traditional students.
BATESVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas Department of Higher Education staff released figures Friday for the 2011 Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship recipients, which numbers about 20 less than the previous year.
“New high school graduates have done a tremendous job of meeting two of three requirements —
completing the Smart Core, making a 19 on the ACT and achieving the 2.5 GPA — required to receive the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship,” said Interim Director Shane Broadway. “We had a total of 11,960 enroll in Arkansas colleges and universities this fall, up 643 from last year.”
Broadway indicated that a number of non-traditional students and current achievers who received excess funding from last spring exited the scholarship program following graduation. This year, no additional dollars are available for non-traditional students as legislated by Act 1180 of 2011, which limits funding to $12 million for that category.
“So although the number of traditional students who received funding was greater than the previous year,” Broadway explained, “the total number of recipients declined slightly from 31,131 to 31,109 to date.”
The number will likely change before the end of the fall semester, he said, and again in the spring semester.