Federal National SMART Grant (NSG) and Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG)

"Federal National SMART Grant (NSG) and Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG)" submitted by SchoolGrantsfor Editorial Team and last updated on Monday 9th January 2012

The National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (National SMART Grant) and Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG) are for undergraduate students and must be Pell Grant-eligible during the same award year. For Pell eligible students enrolled at least half-time in third or fourth year (or fifth year of a five year program) majoring in certain subject areas with at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA. To receive an FSEOG, ACG, or National SMART Grant, you must first be eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant.

Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG) and the National SMART grants encourage students to take more challenging courses in high school--making success in college more likely, according to research--and to pursue college majors in high demand in the global economy, such as science, mathematics, technology, engineering and critical foreign languages.

Both program awards need-based Academic Competitiveness Grants to first- and second-year undergraduates who completed a rigorous high school curriculum, and National SMART Grants to third- and fourth-year undergraduates majoring in certain technical fields or foreign languages deemed vital to national security.

ACG are available to students for their first and second academic years of college and National SMART Grant (NSG) are available to students for their third and fourth academic years of college.

What is the difference between the ACG and the National SMART Grant?

The ACG is for undergraduate students who are enrolled in the first or second a year of an eligible program in any field, who have completed a rigorous secondary school program of study, and who also have at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA at the end of the first year.

The National SMART Grant is for undergraduate students who are enrolled in the third or fourth year of an eligible program (or fifth year of a five-year program) and pursuing an eligible major with at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA. A student does not have to complete a rigorous secondary school program of study to be eligible for this grant.

There are additional steps you need to take to ensure you’re considered for an ACG. Students who fill out FAFSA on the Web are asked questions particular to the ACG. If you’re eligible for a Federal Pell Grant, and within the age range to have graduated from high school after Jan.1, 2005, these questions appear as additional screens during the application process. The paper FAFSA does not contain these questions.

If you file the paper FAFSA, if you are eligible for a Federal Pell Grant, and within the age range to have graduated from high school after Jan. 1, 2005, in your Student Aid Report (SAR) you will be instructed to use FAFSA on the Web or call the Federal Student Aid Information Center (1-800-433-3243) to provide additional information. When you receive a SAR, remember to read the comments and respond appropriately. Because of this extra step in the paper process, we urge you to apply for federal student aid using the online application, FAFSA on the Web.

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