ADHE's YOUniversal Application: Apply for 20 Scholarships with Just 1 form

By NEXT Staff on Monday, September 10, 2012

Editor's note: This article was edited Oct. 1, 2012 to clarify printed information about Academic Challenge Scholarship eligibility. Students who complete the Smart Core course plan are eligible with either a 2.5 high school GPA or a 19 on the ACT. View the full list of requirements at for more information.

Add “fill out scholarship applications individually” to the list of hardships your parents faced but you’ve avoided, right alongside “walk to school barefoot and uphill both ways.” YOUniversal from the Arkansas Department of Higher Education lets you fill out one form and find out which of more than 20 different government-funded scholarships you’re eligible for. Plus, it lets you apply for those matches online. See how spoiled you are?

Even if you’re a freshman, you’ll want to check the site out. Plug in your GPA and test scores and see what you’re currently eligible for. When you’re a senior, you can’t do much to improve your scores and qualify for more money, but as an underclassman, you’ve got plenty of time to position yourself for more financial aid. The site will show you where you need to improve to score more money when you can apply for real in September of your senior year.

Now filling out the YOUniversal application is easier than ever when you download and use the YOUniversal Financial Aid mobile app! Students can log in to check the status of their financial aid applications, update information and track existing awards. Oh, and it’s FREE!

Here’s a list of some of the scholarships the YOUniversal website hooks you up with:

Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship (lottery-funded) — This is probably the most talked about scholarship in the state right now, and not just because it’s relatively new. Four-year students get renewable amounts ranging from $4,500 for the academic year and $2,250 for students at two-year colleges. Among the requirements are a 2.5 GPA or a 19 on the ACT. You can do that!

Arkansas Health Education Grant — This one’s for all you future professionals in the fields of chiropractic medicine, dentistry, optometry, osteopathic medicine, podiatric medicine or veterinary medicine. It’s only for graduate or professional programs, so plan accordingly, and know that attending an out-of-state institution doesn’t disqualify you.

Higher Education Opportunities Grant (Go! Grant) — It doesn’t matter whether you’re the valedictorian or an average student — you still need to further your education to succeed after high school. Demonstrate a financial need and this grant of $1,000 for full-time students and $500 for part-time students could be yours.

Law Enforcement Officers’ Dependents’ Scholarship — If you are the dependent or spouse of an Arkansas public employee who was killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty, you can get a waiver of tuition, fees and dormitory room charges at any public college, university or technical institute in Arkansas for eight semesters.

Military Dependents’ Scholarship — This scholarship program waives tuition, fees and room and board at any public college, university or technical institute in Arkansas for dependents and spouses of Arkansans who were killed or missing in action, prisoners of war or who meet certain criteria for disability.

Second Effort Scholarship Program — This program was created to award the top 10 scorers on the GED exam with $1,000 annually.

State Teacher Education Program — Want to teach math, science, special education, foreign languages or another subject area with a shortage of teachers? Willing to do it in areas of Arkansas without these teachers? Then you could receive up to $4,000 in loan repayment per year if you are teaching in that area.

Student Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program — If you’re looking for an extraordinary college experience, this program would allow you as an undergraduate student to conduct in-depth research projects in a specific area with the assistance of a faculty mentor. A minimum GPA of 3.25, 30 or more hours of credit toward your degree at the time of funding and the support of a faculty mentor will qualify you for this program. Awards range from $750 to $4,000.

Washington Center Scholarship — This one’s pretty specific, but it awards scholarships of up to $6,000 to Arkansas students who are accepted to The Washington Center for Internships & Academic Seminars in Washington, D.C. The Washington Center (TWC) is an independent nonprofit organization serving hundreds of colleges and universities by providing selected students challenging opportunities to work and learn in Washington, D.C.

Workforce Improvement Program — This is a need-based grant for non-traditional students who are at least 24 years old. The goal is to help students returning to school who have financial need but might not be eligible for assistance from traditional state and federal programs. (Students must apply at their institution’s financial aid office.)

Arkansas Governor’s Scholars Program – Students who receive the Governor’s Scholars award will receive $4,000 per year at any approved Arkansas college or university, and students who get the Governor’s Distinguished Scholars will receive up to $10,000 per year for tuition, mandatory fees and room and board.

This is definitely a scholarship underclassmen should aim for. Here's what you need to know:

If you don’t meet the Governor’s Distinguished Scholarship requirements – a 32 on the ACT and a 3.5 GPA or selection as a National Achievement Finalist or National Merit Finalist – you can compete for the Governor’s Scholars award.

That one’s based on academic achievement, test scores and leadership.

Editor’s note: All programs and award amounts are current as of August 2012 but are subject to legislative approval and funding.