Academic Competitiveness Grants and National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (SMART) Grants

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CFDA Number: 84.376
Also Known As: SMART Grants

The Academic Competitiveness Grant and SMART Grant program was created by the Higher Education Reconciliation Act of 2006; it became effective July 1, 2006. The program awards need-based Academic Competitiveness Grants to first- and second-year undergraduates who completed a rigorous high school curriculum, and SMART Grants to third- and fourth-year undergraduates majoring in certain technical fields or foreign languages deemed vital to national security.

In order to be eligible for either grant, a student must be a United States citizen, enrolled full time, and eligible for a federal Pell Grant. (See Federal Pell Grant Program, # 84.063, for information on the process for applying for and being deemed eligible for a Pell Grant.) A first-year undergraduate is also required to be a first-time undergraduate, to be enrolled or accepted for enrollment in a two- or four-year degree-granting institution, and to have completed, after Jan. 1, 2006, a rigorous secondary school program. A second-year undergraduate at such an institution is required to have completed such a rigorous program after Jan. 1, 2005, and to have obtained a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 in the first ademic year as an undergraduate.

Third- and fourth-year undergraduates are required to pursue a major in physical, life, or computer sciences, mathematics, technology, engineering or a critical foreign language, and to obtain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 in the coursework required for the major being pursued. Critical foreign languages will be determined by the secretary of education in consultation with the director of national intelligence.

Grant amounts are $750 to first-year undergraduate students, $1,300 for a second-year undergraduate, and $4,000 for third- and fourth-year undergraduates, except that these grants, in combination with the Federal Pell Grant and other student financial assistance cannot exceed the student's cost of attendance. A student may only receive one grant for each of the first through fourth years of undergraduate education and only for a year for which the student received credit after the date of enactment of the program.

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Last Modified: 08/21/2014