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The Aspiring Scholars Matching Grant Program provides eligible families with up to $500 per year for up to 5 years, based on a household's income levels.

Who's eligible?

Parent(s) or guardian(s) of a designated beneficiary in the Arkansas 529 GIFT Plan whose household adjusted gross income (AGI) for the previous calendar year is $60,000 or less. Both the account owner and the account's designated beneficiary must be Arkansas residents (either U.S. citizens or permanent resident aliens).

How does the program work?

  • The account owner submits an application form (between January 1 and April 30).
  • The Matching Grant Committee considers all of the applications.
  • Applicants are notified by the Committee on or before June 30 about the status of the grant.
  • If the grant is awarded; the funds will be deposited into a matching grant account for the designated beneficiary. This will be done by February 15 of each year for contributions made the previous calendar year.
  • The maximum matching grant available is $500.

Matching amounts / guidelines

Adjusted household gross income    Matching rate    Maximum grant
$0 to $30,000    $2 for each $1 contributed    $500
$30,001 to $60,000    $1 for each $1 contributed    $500

Apply for an Aspiring Scholars Matching Grant one of these ways:

  • By phone: Call the Office of the State Treasurer at 501-682-1391
  • By mail: Mail your request for an application form to:

    Section 529 Plan Review Committee
    c/o State Treasurer
    State Capital Building, Room 220
    Little Rock, AR 72201

Applications are accepted between January 1 and April 30 of each year.

Please note:

  • An account owner must have a separate GIFT Plan account for the designated beneficiary at the time of the application (or submit a completed enrollment form together with the matching grant application)
  • Payments from the matching grant accounts must be made directly to qualified institutions of higher education.
  • Only one (1) matching grant account may be opened for any designated beneficiary.
  • The application must be accompanied by Arkansas income tax return or other proof of income, such as a W-2 Form. For example, if you are submitting an application between January and April of 2009, you must enclose your completed tax return for tax-year 2008.

Matching grants are subject to availability of funds and can be reduced or stopped at the Arkansas Section 529 Plan Review Committee's discretion.

Ascensus Broker Dealer Services is the distributor of The Arkansas 529 GIFT Plan, Learn more about Ascensus Broker Dealer Services, Inc. on FINRA's BrokerCheck FINRA's BrokerCheck.

For more information about the GIFT College Investing Plan (the "GIFT Plan"), call 1.800.587.7301 or visit www.thegiftplan.com to obtain a Program Description and Participation Agreement, which includes investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses and other information; read and consider it carefully before making an investment or sending money. Ascensus Broker Dealer Services, Inc. ("ABD") is the Distributor of the GIFT Plan.

Please Note: Before investing in any 529 plan, you should consider whether your or the beneficiary's home state offers a 529 plan that provides its taxpayers with state tax or other benefits that are only available through investment in the home state's 529 plan. You should consult your financial, tax, or other advisor to learn more about how state-based benefits (or any limitations) would apply to your specific circumstances. You also may wish to contact directly your home state's 529 college savings plan(s), or any other 529 plan, to learn more about those plans' features, benefits, and limitations. Keep in mind that state-based benefits should be one of many appropriately weighted factors to be considered when making an investment decision.

The GIFT Plan is a college tuition savings program sponsored by the State of Arkansas and administered by the Arkansas Section 529 Plan Review Committee ("Committee"). ABD, the Program Manager, and its affiliates have overall responsibility for the day-to-day operations, including investment advisory services, recordkeeping, administrative services and marketing of the GIFT Plan. The GIFT Plan's Portfolios invest in: (i) mutual funds; or (ii) an FDIC-insured omnibus savings account held in trust by the Committee at Sallie Mae Bank. Except for the GIFT Plan Savings Portfolio, investments in the GIFT Plan are not insured by the FDIC. Units of the Portfolios are municipal securities and the value of units will vary with market conditions.

Investment returns will vary depending upon the performance of the GIFT Plan Portfolios you choose. Except to the extent of FDIC insurance available for the GIFT Plan Savings Portfolio, you could lose all or a portion of your money by investing in the GIFT Plan, depending on market conditions. Account Owners assume all investment risks as well as responsibility for any federal and state tax consequences.

Not FDIC-Insured (except for the GIFT Plan Savings Portfolio). No Bank, State or Federal Guarantee. May Lose Value.