Webinar for High School and 		TRIO counselors
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Webinar for High School and TRIO counselors March 2007. ACG and National Smart Grant. The Higher Education Reconciliation Act of 2005 (HERA) created two new grant programs:. Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG). National Science and Mathematics

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ACG and National Smart Grant

The Higher Education Reconciliation Act of 2005 (HERA) created two new grant programs:

  • Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG)

  • National Science and Mathematics

  • Access to Retain Talent Grant (National SMART)

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FSA For Counselors



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Link to Fact Sheet

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Common to Both Programs

Authorization and Funding

  • Funding not subject to annual appropriations process:

    2006-07 -- $790 million

    2007-08 -- $850 million

    2008-09 -- $920 million

    2009-10 -- $960 million

    2010-11 -- $1.01 billion

    - If funding insufficient, rateable reduction.

    - No reduction for 2006-07

    - Funds not spent in one year are carried over to subsequent years.

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Common to Both Programs

Award amounts are announced by the Secretary for each Academic year .

These are the amounts for Academic year 0607


  • First Academic Year - $750

  • Second Academic Year - $1,300

    National SMART Grant –

  • $4,000 per year for each of the student’s third and fourth academic year of undergraduate study

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Institutional Participation

Common to Both Programs

  • All schools that participate in Pell Grants and offer an eligible educational program must participate in ACG and National SMART Grants

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Common to Both Programs

  • ACG and National SMART are

  • Separate and Distinct Programs

  • Some Similarities

    • Pell Recipient

    • U.S. Citizen

    • Fulltime

    • ED established funding levels

    • Need based

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Common to Both Programs

Cost of Attendance (COA)

- Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

= Need

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ACG Eligibility Requirements

  • U.S. citizen

  • Federal Pell Grant recipient for same academic year

  • First or second year student in a two or four year degree program

  • Full-time enrollment

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ACG Eligibility Requirements

1st year students

  • May not have been previously enrolled as a regular student in a program of undergraduate education

  • Have completed secondary school program of study after January 1, 2006

    2nd year students

  • Have graduated from secondary school program of study after January 1, 2005

  • Have a 3.0 G.P.A. in an eligible program from 1st Title IV academic year

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Rigorous Secondary School Program

  • ACG requires graduation from a rigorous secondary school program

  • ED has outlined options to meet requirement in DCL GEN-06-08

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Options for Rigorous Program

  • State Designated Program

    • An advanced or honors diploma established by a state and in existence for the 04-05 or 05-06 school year

    • State Scholars Initiative

    • Submitted State Recognized Plan

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Options for Rigorous Program

2. A set of courses similar to the State Scholars Initiative as outlined in the Secretary’s May 2 letter to states.

  • AP/IB: Successful completion of at least two courses with passing test score in those two courses of:

    Advanced Placement= 3

    International Baccalaureate= 4

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Options for Rigorous Program

Coursework designated by the Secretary

  • 4 years of English

  • 3 years of math (Algebra I and above)

  • 3 years of science (Bio, Chem, Physics)

  • 3 years of social studies

  • 1 year of a foreign language

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Options for Rigorous Program

  • All states responded by June 1 to Secretary’s May 2 request.

  • All states have one or more designated programs.

  • Students from every state have at least 3 ways to qualify for ACG

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Analyzing Rigorous High School Credentials

  • An institution is required to document and retain documentation that confirms eligibility against one of the five rigorous standard options.

  • An institution can use which ever option is most efficient.

    • Including reviewing the courses approved by the Secretary which are similar to the State Scholar’s Initiative

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How Do Students Apply?

  • On the web

    • When students who completed their Free application for Federal Student aid on the web at www.fafsa.ed.gov receive their confirmation that their FASFA has been received, they may be prompted to answer questions about their eligibility for ACG.

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FASFA on the Web



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How Do Students Apply?

  • If they have submitted a paper FAFSA and have received their Student Aid Report (SAR) indicating that they may be eligible to answer the ACG questions, they can call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4FEDAID.

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How Do Students Apply?

  • The student can indicate potential by visiting /writing the Financial aid office.

  • The student will need to provide documentation.

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How Can You Help?

  • As counselors, you can encourage students to take courses that would meet the definition of “rigor”.

  • You can assist students by providing documentation in a timely manner for the student to take to the school or provide the documentation to the school directly indicating that the student has met the criteria of “rigor”.

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How Can You Help?

  • You can help students in AP courses understand the need to take the AP exams.

  • You can spread the word.

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  • Once the student has demonstrated eligibility the institution will follow the rules for disbursement and determine the “academic year” for the student.

  • The grants are multiply disbursed.

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Grade Point Average for ACG

  • For second academic year, a student must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 from the first academic year of eligible program.

  • Only determined once after completion of first academic year.

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Financial Aid Professionals (FAP) Portal




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HERA Links

Link to: Rigorous High School Program Codes

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Eligible Majors

  • Mathematics

  • Physical sciences

  • Designated foreign languages

  • Computer science

  • Engineering

  • Technology

  • Life Sciences

  • Identified by CIP*

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Link to CIP


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Monitoring Major

  • Requires that a recipient–

    • Declare an eligible major in accordance with institution’s academic policy; or

    • Show intent to declare eligible major if school policy does not yet require a major.

  • Institution must have process to monitor that student is making progress toward completion of the program with that eligible major.

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Other Eligibility Rules

  • This is for 3rd and 4th year students.

  • The student must also be Pell eligible.

  • It is need based.

  • US Citizens only

  • It for $4000 each year.

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  • Claire “Micki” Roemer

  • (202) 377-3452

    • Claire.Roemer@ed.gov