Since 2006, the ACG Grant (Academic Competitiveness Grant) and the SMART Grant (National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant), have been available to Pell eligible students who meet certain additional criteria. As these new federal grant programs begin to unfold, continued guidance from the Department of Education have clarified certain requirements for eligibility. ACG students must be Pell eligible per the FAFSA application and have completed a ‘rigorous secondary school program”. This requirement has been defined in recent weeks to include three different options.
The criteria can be met by 1) Completing a Secretary of Education’s Recognized Program, 2) Passing 2 AP courses with an AP test score of at least 3, or 2 IB courses with an IB test score of 4 or better, 3) complete a set of courses identified by the Secretary of Education as a rigorous program.
ACG recipients must achieve and maintain a grade point average of 3.0 or better to continue to receive the grant in future terms. SMART grant eligible students should be aware of the following interpretation of the federal regulations.
Effective immediately, SMART grant recipients must be taking at least one course that meets the specific requirements of their eligible major. Basic and breadth classes that are required of all undergraduates as part of their general education courses do not meet this requirement. Appropriate academic planning should be sought out by all SMART grant eligible students since this $4,000 grant goes a long way toward meeting your educational costs.
Losing this grant by not being aware of the latest federal guidance could cause a disruption in your academic plans. Please don’t let this happen! Go to http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/ac-smart.html for a detailed discussion on the ACG/SMART grant regulations.