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Arkansas Financial Aid System Goes Mobile

The Arkansas Department of Higher Education and Arkansas.gov unveiled a free smartphone application that will make it easier for Arkansans to apply for financial aid and check the status of their awards. In addition to the smartphone version available at http://www.adhe.edu/aid, the YOUniversal Financial Aid System is also available for free download in the Apple iTunes App Store for the iPhone and the Android Marketplace. A Windows Phone 7 version will also be available soon.

“This smartphone application allows students to complete the YOUniversal financial aid scholarship application from their iPhone, Android, Blackberry or other device, as easily as they would on our website,” said Shane Broadway, interim director for ADHE. “They are also able to check their status and accept the award from their handheld.”

Arkansas is among the most progressive states in delivering mobile-friendly government solutions, and the YOUniversal mobile system includes several innovative features. Integration with Facebook and Twitter and the nation’s first state government SMS Text4help service allows students to text their questions, and receive answers via text, keeping them on the mobile app. Standard messaging rates apply.

The YOUniversal system combines 21 scholarship, grants, and financial aid programs into one easy search that determines eligibility and can be completed in less than five minutes online or on the mobile platform. The application deadline for all students including traditional, non-traditional, and those current achievers already enrolled, is June 1, 2011, for the fall and spring semesters of the upcoming academic year.

Last year a total of 31,031 Arkansas Academic Challenge scholarships were awarded, with the largest number going to traditional students who graduated in the previous school year. Academic Challenge scholarships are funded with proceeds from the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery. Each student who graduates from an Arkansas High School in 2011 and completes the eligibility qualifications is guaranteed to receive Academic Challenge Scholarship funds under the current law. The remaining dollars are then awarded based on a prioritization process that takes into account students nearest to graduation, GPA and those in critical needs areas, such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Additionally, supporting materials such as transcripts and other required documentation must be received by ADHE no later than June 15. Traditional students that have completed their application may be notified as soon as the first week of May.