Academic Challenge Scholarship (Lottery) Frequently Asked Questions

1. Does ADHE have the needed documents to complete my application file?
All applicants are encouraged to check the status of their ADHE accounts online through the YOUniversal website ( When an applicant’s account is updated, the change is reflected in the respective account.  However, it is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that all required documentation is properly submitted to ADHE.   

2. I applied near the beginning of the application period and still have not heard anything. Why is that?
All files are reviewed and updated as documents are received. Due to heavy document volume, this process takes a significant amount of time. Additionally, because of the nature of the programs involved, most programs are unable to make rolling awards. In other words, awards are not announced on a first-come first-serve basis. All applicants, whether approved or declined, will receive notice of final status as timely as possible. We appreciate your patience in this process.

3. I accepted my award. What else do I have to do?

Nothing. We send the award to the college you have designated on your application, and the college will post the funds to your student account after they have independently verified you are eligible to receive them.   

4. When will Challenge applicants hear about their awards?
The Challenge Scholarship is assisting tens of thousands of Arkansans pay for college. Due to the complexity and scope of the program, in addition to the responsibility our office has to the people of Arkansas, the review process is a labor and time intensive undertaking. We appreciate your patience in this practice, and we promise to notify awardees as timely as possible.  

5. I can’t log into my account. What steps may I take to regain access?

(1)Under the “Returning Users” tab found here (, enter the email address that was used to create your YOUniversal account here.
(2)Next, click on “Can’t log in”.  
(3)Finally, an email will be sent to that address with a link to where you can create a new password.  The link is good for only one hour. If that does not work, contact technical support at 1-877-727-EGOV. Please know that ADHE financial aid coordinators cannot reset student passwords. This measure is in place to ensure account privacy.

6. What account?
This would be the account you created when you first completed the ADHE search and application process. Access it by going to and clicking on the YOUniversal application link then log in as a returning user.

7. I already have the Academic Challenge Scholarship. Was I supposed to apply again?

No, you will be renewed automatically if you meet the continuing eligibility regulations found here:

8. How do I change my ADHE account information?

New applicants may log into their ADHE account around the clock and update their profile. Original Challenge recipients who have already created an account may also change their information on-line. Those who have not yet set up an account must make those changes in writing.

9. Why is it taking so long?
ADHE personnel are diligently working to process tens of thousands of ACS and other financial aid applications.  Processing requires unique attention to each application, because each application must be matched up with paper transcripts and then evaluated by hand. This is a very time- and labor-intensive endeavor. Nonetheless, we are committed to ensuring that it is done properly, the first time, to the maximum benefit of the students.

10. What are the criteria for determining priority should there be less money than eligible applicants?
For Current Achiever and Nontraditional students applying for Academic Challenge, state law dictates that in the event of more qualified applicants than available money, a priority system shall be used evaluating progress toward a degree, grade point average, and course of study in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics or a critical needs or workforce shortage area.

11. I am a student coming out of high school, will there be Academic Challenge Scholarship money for me?
If you are eligible, yes, there will be Academic Challenge Scholarship funds available to you.  Under legislation for the Academic Challenge Scholarship program, there is no funding cap for students coming out of high school; and projections indicate that there will be enough to fund all qualifying students in the traditional student category.

12. What is the difference between the FAFSA and ADHE’s YOUniversal System?
Federal and state governments, in addition to private institutions and universities, administer separate financial aid programs. (All applicants are encouraged to seek reputable non-ADHE administered financial aid opportunities.)  Specific to the question, the difference between the FAFSA and ADHE YOUniversal account is the administering body. FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) deals with federal aid and is administered by the US government. ADHE (Arkansas Department of Higher Education) is a state agency that administers the financial aid programs of the State of Arkansas for her people.

Please note that many ADHE administered financial aid programs require that the FAFSA be completed in addition to ADHE’s application. NEVER PAY TO COMPLETE THE FAFSA. The first letter in the acronym FAFSA stands for "free."  

13. Where may I find the promulgated rules and regulations that govern ADHE financial aid programs?



updated 12/20/10