Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnerships (LEAP)

"Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnerships (LEAP)" submitted by SchoolGrantsfor Editorial Team and last updated on Friday 22nd July 2011

Table of Contents

The Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnerships (LEAP), formerly State Student Incentive Grants (SSIG) program is designed to encourage states to maintain and expand need-based grant programs. States must match federal funds on a dollar-for-dollar basis. However, when the federal appropriation for LEAP reaches $30 million, the state match increases to $2 for every federal dollar. States that provide the higher match gain additional flexibility in spending the money—they can use it for increased grant aid, merit scholarships for needy students, and scholarships in specialized academic areas. The alternatives reduce the exposure to questionable practices, help control federal costs, and make the financial management of the program more comparable with that of the private sector.

This federal-state partnership program has been the foundation of state-matched grants since 1972, generating more than one billion dollars for about one million students each year. The Grants for Access and Persistence (GAP) component of LEAP w states to create robust partnerships with institutions of higher education, businesses, and philanthropic organizations to provide low-income students with the additional need-based grants; early intervention; and early assurance of aid eligibility that equals success. GAP can play a critical part in meeting the president’s 2020 goal of increased college graduation in the US.

Certain functions of the program are delegated to participating schools. Schools approved for participation in the state LEAP Program must have federal eligibility and must annually submit a state application and be approved for state participation. Funding available for a specific award year is allocated to eligible in-state post-secondary institutions who select and certify recipients to Student Financial Assistance Commission. Student Financial Assistance Commission forwards award funding to the institutions for disbursement to the student or student's account.

Which institutions are eligible to participate?

Only public and private post-secondary institutions that are properly licensed in Arizona and accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency (which is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education) are eligible.

Award Amounts

Individual grants range from an annual minimum of $200 to a maximum of $2,000; however, the actual amount of each student's award is determined by the financial aid office at the institution and is governed by the number of recipients selected and the amount of funds available. Awards are based upon a full academic year, excluding summer sessions and intersession, beginning with the fall term and concluding with the spring term. Annually, funds are allocated to post-secondary institutions based on school type, the school's prior year first-time, full-time enrollment of matriculating students and the amount of the prior year's allocation that was expended.

Federal funds are provided to match appropriated state funds supplied by the states on a dollar for dollar basis. Each participating institution, public, or private provides institutional matching funds which are equal to the amount of funds provided by the State for the LEAP Program. No individual award may be for more than the student's financial need or $5,000, whichever is less.

The LEAP Program provides grants to states to assist them in providing need-based grants and community service work-study assistance to eligible post-secondary students. States must administer the program under a single state agency and meet maintenance-of-effort criteria. This is a need-based financial aid program available to students attending Texas colleges and universities. To apply, complete the FAFSA.

LEAP applicants must meet all of the following:

  1. Be a U.S. citizen or national or eligible non-citizen; and
  2. Register with Selective Service, if required; and
  3. Be a resident of Louisiana for at least one year prior to July 1 of the award year.
  4. Annually submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or Renewal FAFSA by the deadline set by the school; and
  5. Have a high school diploma with at least a 2.00 cumulative grade point average (GPA), or a minimum average score of 45 on the General Educational Development (GED) test, or an ACT composite score of at least 20, or a post-secondary school GPA of at least 2.00 from the most recent term; and
  6. Be selected and certified by the school for receipt of a LEAP Award, contingent upon final approval by LOSFA; and
  7. Meet any additional selection criteria established by the individual institution participating in the LEAP Program; and
  8. Be certified as a full-time undergraduate student in an eligible program at an eligible post-secondary institution; and
  9. Have substantial financial need of at least $199; and
  10. Be in compliance with the terms of other federal and state student aid programs that are administered by LASFAC, which the applicant may be receiving; and
  11. Not have a criminal conviction, except for misdemeanor traffic violations; and
  12. Agree that the award proceeds will be used exclusively for educational expenses; and
  13. Not be in default of an educational loan.

Maintaining Eligibility

To continue receiving a LEAP Award, the recipient must meet all of the following :

How do I apply for the LEAP program?

States may apply. Undergraduate and graduate students having substantial financial need may then apply to the states in which they are residents. Note that these state programs carry a variety of names that do not necessarily include the name "LEAP" in their titles.

Your state agency can give you important information about state aid—including aid from the Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership (LEAP) Program, funded jointly by states and the U.S. Department of Education. Contact the “State Higher Education Agencies” for your state contact information. The student must apply to their state's higher education agency either directly or indirectly through the school. Every award requires the state agency's formal approval. You can find contact information for each state's agency at: http://wdcrobcolp01.ed.gov/Programs/EROD/org_list.cfm?category_id=SHE