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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (ADHE) – The Arkansas Legislative Council approved a request Friday from Gov. Mike Beebe to transfer up to $2 million in Rainy Day Funds to cover a record number of qualified Governor's Distinguished Scholarship recipients.

"The Governor's Scholarship programs are an excellent way to recognize and reward students who have applied themselves to their studies and reached some of the highest levels of achievement," said Shane Broadway, Arkansas Department of Higher Education director. "We appreciate the Legislative Council's approval for the transfer of funds along with the commitment from the governor and the council to keeping some of the best and brightest students here in the state."

This year, 531 students qualified for the Governor's Distinguished Scholarship, which will pay up to $10,000 per year for a maximum of four years for tuition, mandatory fees, room and board at any approved Arkansas college or university. To be eligible, a student must have either a 32 composite score on the ACT or a score of 1410 SAT along with a 3.50 academic grade point average.

Three hundred students have accepted their scholarship, which left 193 wait-listed while a small number have declined the scholarship. The number who qualified was 119 more than last year and 123 more than the greatest number of qualified applicants for the 2011-12 academic year.

The ADHE is responsible for carrying out the policy directives of the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board, approving and reviewing college and university academic programs and developing funding recommendations for the state's 11 public universities and 22 public two-year colleges as well as several other post-secondary entities.

In addition, the agency is responsible for distributing approximately $150 million annually from state revenues and lottery funds intended to ease the financial burden of students seeking an education beyond high school. For more information, visit www.adhe.edu or call 501-371-2050.

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