LITTLE ROCK — More than 5,000 graduating Arkansas high school seniors have started but not yet completed scholarship applications with the state Department of Higher Education ahead of the midnight Saturday deadline, ADHE officials said Thursday.

Public high school transcripts will automatically be transmitted to ADHE, but students and parents must have a correct and completed Free Application for Federal Student Aid as well as the YOUniversal Scholarship Application filed online on ADHE’s website by the end of the day Saturday.

"Technology can be a blessing and a curse, so don’t wait until the last minute," Interim ADHE Director Shane Broadway said in a news release. "If you miss the midnight cutoff, we can’t override the system. Double check now to ensure you’ve completed the application, and if you haven’t started it, there is still time."

Officials said about 11,300 graduating seniors have accepted the Academic Challenge Scholarship, which is largely funded by the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery. About 1,800 more scholarships are still pending acceptance, and another 5,300 have not yet been awarded because applications are incomplete and eligibility is pending.

Under legislation enacted this year, new recipients of the Academic Challenge Scholarship who attend a four-year college or university will receive $2,000 their freshman year, $3,000 their sophomore year, $4,000 their junior year and $5,000 their senior year, as long as renewal requirements are met.

Those attending a two-year college will receive $2,000 for freshman and sophomore year. Previous recipients of the scholarship will continue to receive the amounts stipulated in their original award.

ADHE also offers more than 20 other scholarship programs. The application deadline for all is midnight Saturday. —