Frequently Asked

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How is this program provided to participants at no cost?

    As an organization with a mission to place people into great careers, we collaborate with like-minded organizations throughout our community. Through the generous support of multiple entities, Upskill NWA’s services—including tuition, books, fees, licensing exam fees, and other historical barriers —are provided at no cost to participants.

  • Who is eligible to participate?

    Participants must have a household income at or lower than 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI table below). Participants must also be able to be a student and work in the United States, and they must be accepted for enrollment by one of our educational partners. Participants must also reside in Benton, Madison, or Washington County in Arkansas. For more information, please see Apply.

  • What sort of income level documentation will I need to provide?

    Provide your income and/or your spouse or partner's income via the most recent pay stub(s) and the first page of your most recent tax return. 

    If you do not have any income of your own, for example, a parent supports you, you will need to ask that person for their most recent pay stub and the first page of their most recent tax return. 

    If you need assistance on how to acquire this type of documentation, we are here to help. 

  • What if I cannot find my tax return? What if I did not file taxes?

    If you have lost a copy of your taxes, you can get a transcript of your taxes from the IRS by calling (800)-829-1040. Transcripts will be mailed directly to you in two to three weeks.

  • Am I considered single or married?

    Single: Not legally married and not living with someone with whom you have children.

    Married or living with a partner: Legally married or living with someone with whom you have children.

  • How will I establish that I live in Benton, Madison, or Washington County in Arkansas?

    You can show proof of residency by providing a copy of your lease or mortgage statement. If you do not have a lease or mortgage of your own because you are living with friends or family, you can provide a utility bill showing the head of household’s name and address along with a written statement from the head of household verifying that you do live with them. 

  • How do I get copies of my high school diploma or GED certificate?

    To get a copy of your high school transcript, contact the registrar’s office at the school from which you graduated. It should be able to get you a copy of your transcript.

    For a GED certificate, Order a Duplicate Transcript from the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services.

  • How do I get my college transcript?

    Transcripts can be requested through the school’s registrar’s office. You can often request your transcript online. Try visiting the college’s website and search for “registrar’s office” or “transcript request.” Some schools require written consent before processing your request and will not offer online services. In that case, try calling or visiting the office in person. If your college no longer exists, you will have a more difficult time obtaining transcripts.

  • Why am I being asked for so many documents?

    It is true that we ask for a lot of documents, but we try to ask only for documents when absolutely necessary. We get our funding from a variety of sources, and to show that we are using the money responsibly, we have to prove participants meet program qualifications. We document every aspect of our decision to accept new participants so that we can commit thousands of dollars towards their education and help them succeed.

  • What if I already have a degree?

    Upskill NWA does not sponsor adults who have already earned a college degree (associate degree or higher). In the case that you can prove your degree is not valid for employment, Upskill NWA can consider your application and in some cases make an exception. Contact us before applying to find out if you may qualify for an exception by emailing

    If your degree is from a foreign country, you may have your credits reviewed to determine your credit equivalency. If the college evaluates your credits to be less than an associate degree, Upskill NWA may be able to help you get the remaining credits you need.

  • Can two people from the same family apply?

    We do not sponsor two people at the same time who rely on each other for their income like a spouse or domestic partner due to this potentially creating a financial hardship for the household.  A good financial plan is critical to your success. If you are not financially dependent on one another like siblings or parent/child with separate income, then yes, two or more people from the same family may apply at the same time.

  • What if I am unsure about my career choice?

    We want you to finish your degree and move on to a rewarding career. Part of our application process includes going over your interests with a member of the Upskill NWA team. This step may help determine the right career field for you, but ultimately it is up to you to make the best choice for yourself. Take the time to research your options and be ready for your commitment interview. You will be asked about your reasons for choosing your career field. Visit our Programs page to explore your career options.

  • What if I am already attending classes?

    Current students enrolled in the programs we support are eligible to apply to Upskill NWA. If accepted, we will sponsor the remainder of your education. We do not retroactively pay for classes you have already taken. In addition, you must be in good standing with the academic institution.

  • Does Upskill NWA help with English/ESL classes?

    If you need to English advance your English skills to prepare you to be ready for college classes, Northwest Arkansas Community College offers an English as a Second Language College Preparation course. Once you complete the course and are ready to take classes towards your degree, you can apply to Upskill NWA.

  • How long will I be in Upskill NWA?

    That depends on the program you select, but a likely range is from six months to four years.

  • How many classes will I take each semester?

    As an Upskill NWA participant, you will commit to moving through your program as quickly as possible. Typically, you will aim to take two to four classes or about eight to twelve college credit hours per semester. During the application process, you will be asked to think about your work and personal schedules to determine if they are flexible enough to allow you to make this commitment.

  • Can I take classes at night?

    Our educational partners might have some evening or weekend classes, but most classes are during the day. It is unlikely you will be able to take the majority of your coursework at night.

  • What if I have a criminal background?

    You can still apply to Upskill NWA if you have a criminal record as long as you meet our other eligibility requirements. As part of your application paperwork, you will submit a criminal history from the Arkansas Department of Public Safety. If the career you choose requires licensing, you will be asked to submit an application to the licensing board for your chosen career. If the board finds you eligible for licensing, Upskill NWA can accept you. If you cannot be licensed, then you will have to consider a different career choice.

  • What if I started applying, but did not finish? Do I start over?

    If you applied to Upskill NWA more than a year ago, you will need to start the process over.

    If you applied less than a year ago, email us at and let us know you would like to continue the application process. They will review your application and let you know which documents need to be updated and what your next step is.