The Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE) offers the YOUniversal application for state programs. You will also need to fill out FAFSA, the application for federal programs.
Is there a difference between the FAFSA and ADHE’s YOUniversal System? Absolutely!
The FAFSA is the application for federal financial aid programs, such as the Pell Grant and student loans. ADHE’s YOUniversal System is the application for State of Arkansas financial aid programs, such as the Academic Challenge Scholarship and the GO! Grant.
You must complete EACH application to be considered for each type of aid. Completion of the FAFSA is NOT an application for any of the ADHE programs, nor is completion of the YOUniversal application the same as the FAFSA.
This application allows students to apply for the following:
- Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship (Lottery Scholarship)—must have a 19 ACT or 64 on Compass). Deadline: June 1, but do not delay!
- Governor’s Distinguished Scholarship-- must have a 32 ACT and 3.5 GPA. Deadline: February 1
- Higher Education Opportunities Grants (GO Grant)--students who have been accepted to an approved Arkansas institution and show financial need. Deadline: June 1
Checklist for YOUniversal application:
- Have your correct social security number and correct birthdate.
- Make sure you have a working e-mail that you will be able to use in the future. All notifications are sent through e-mail. Do not use your CHS e-mail account.
- Make sure to check your e-mail frequently and accept the scholarship offer.
- Be prepared to answer questions about your parents’ salary range, residency in Arkansas (how long has your family lived in the state?).
- Complete the FAFSA (See below. Go ahead and fill out YOUniversal now, but the FAFSA is required to finalize YOUniversal application).
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Download the FREE YOUniversal app from Google Play or the iTunes Store
FAFSA may be completed after the YOUniversal application is completed (after your parents have filed their 2015 tax return).
- Create an FSA ID. An FSA ID gives you access to Federal Student Aid’s online system and serves as your legal signature on the FAFSA. https://fsaid.ed.gov
- Make sure that you have your correct social security number.
- Make sure to use an e-mail address that you will check frequently and that you can access after you graduate from high school. Do not use your CHS e-mail address.
- Apply for the selective service (males age 18 and older only) at www.sss.gov.
- Encourage your parents who are eligible to file 2015 tax returns to file them as soon as possible. Although you may go ahead and access the FAFSA website prior to filing your taxes, the application cannot be complete until the tax return is filed.
- Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to transfer data from federal income tax returns to the FAFSA if the tax returns have been filed electronically.
Time to take a deep breath and dive in, seniors. Be sure to see your counselor if you have any questions.