We received an update this week from the Department of Higher Education on the amount of students that will be taking advantage of the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship.

We learned that, so far, over 12,000 students from across the state have been awarded and have accepted the scholarship. This includes students from every county.

Another 1,500 students have been told the scholarship is available to them but have not yet accepted the award. The deadline to apply was June 1st.

But we also learned of a few challenges the Department experiences every year in making sure students have the scholarship money they deserve.

This week, we want to take the time to remind families of a few simple instructions that will help make the transition from high school to college just a little bit easier.

First, make sure the Department of Higher Education has your correct email address. Many times students will use an email from high school and forget to inform the scholarship program of their new email address. This is the primary method of communication between you and the program.

Next, make sure the agency also has the correct name of the college or university you will be attending. Many times students will change their mind about which school to attend, but forget to update the information in the system. The Department of Higher Education says this is a common oversight that presents challenges every year.

You can make sure your email and school information is updated in the YouUniversal application available at adhe.edu. There is also a free app available for smart phones.

The next important thing for students to remember is that they must enroll for a minimum of 12 hours a semester to be eligible for the scholarship.

And if you are a current recipient and are in danger of losing your scholarship due to a low grade point average, you will need to enroll in summer school and have your updated transcript to the agency by October 1st.

There are also another 11,931 non-traditional students this year who have applied for the scholarship. They will be notified about their acceptance by email by October 1.

We look forward to hearing about the progress in this upcoming freshman class and the contributions we are certain they will make to our state.