Posted Date: April 09, 2009

Author: Jeff Baker, Director Policy Liaison and Implementation, Federal Student Aid

Subject: Announcement of the maximum award amounts for the Academic Competitiveness Grant and National SMART Grant programs for the 2009-2010 Award Year

Maximum Award Amounts

Under the statutory provisions that established the Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG) and the National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (National SMART Grant) programs, the Secretary is required to reduce the maximum award amounts during an award year if he determines that available funding will not support all students otherwise expected to qualify for the grants. Based upon an analysis of expenditures in these programs, adjusted for expected changes during the 2009-2010 award year, the Secretary has determined that there is no need to reduce the maximum award amounts for the programs in 2009-2010.

Additionally, the statute has been amended to allow, beginning with the 2009-2010 Award Year, students who are enrolled less than full-time, but at least half-time, to receive ACG and National SMART Grant awards. The definitions for these enrollment statuses are the same as those that are used for the other Title IV student aid programs, including the Federal Pell Grant Program [see 34 CFR 668.2(b)].

Finally, the statute was also amended to provide to allow, also beginning with the 2009-2010 Award Year, that under certain circumstances, students enrolled in the fifth year of an undergraduate program with five full years (grade levels) may receive a National SMART Grant award.

We also want to remind institutions that a student’s payments from the Scheduled Award for his or her grade level must be reduced if the total of the student's expected family contribution (EFC), the ACG or National SMART Grant payments, and other financial assistance, including other Title IV aid (Federal Pell Grant, campus-based aid, and FFEL or Direct Loans), exceeds the student's cost of attendance. If a student remains eligible for that grade-level’s award in a subsequent period of enrollment, the student may receive further payments from the balance of that grade-level’s Scheduled Award.

Based upon the provisions noted above, the maximum Scheduled Award for a full-time student and the annual award amounts for part-time students for the 2009-2010 Award Year will be as shown on the following table.

ACG and National SMART Grant Amounts for 2009-2010

PROGRAM/YEAR IN SCHOOL

FULL-TIME ENROLLMENT
Scheduled
Award

THREE-QUARTER TIME ENROLLMENT
Annual Award

HALF-TIME ENROLLMENT
Annual Award

ACG - FIRST YEAR

$750

$563

$375

ACG - SECOND YEAR

$1,300

$975

$650

NATIONAL SMART GRANT - THIRD YEAR

$4,000

$3,000

$2,000

NATIONAL SMART GRANT – FOURTH YEAR

$4,000

$3,000

$2,000

NATIONAL SMART GRANT – FIFTH YEAR

$4,000

$3,000

$2,000

   

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