SMART Grant

What Are the Smart Grant Requirements?

The National Smart Grant is otherwise known as the National Science & Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant. This grant is available to full time students who are currently in their third and fourth years of undergraduate study. Students qualifying for the Smart Grant must be a recipient for the Federal Pell Grant (since the Smart Grant is supplementary to the Pell Grant) and must major in one of the following subjects: physical science, life science, computer science, engineering, mathematics, technology, or in one of over 20 specified foreign languages.

Why is this necessary? Because the Smart Grant is only given to students who are studying courses that are deemed critical to national security. The student must maintain a grade point average of at least 3.0 (out of 4.0) in coursework. The National SMART Grant award is in addition to the student’s Pell Grant award, so the student must be enrolled and eligible for the Pell Grant. Furthermore, all qualifying students must be a U.S. citizen and must be learning in a participating school that offers a four-year degree.

The U.S. Department of Education will be the office offering the grant. Students that are chosen will receive $4,000 per year, all of which does not count against other state or federal grants. This grant was created for Pell Grant recipients in order to encourage students to pursue degrees in subjects that were pertinent to national security. There is a long list of subjects that can be useful to the U.S. government including sciences like psychology, plant life, computer programming, forest engineering, biochemistry occupational safety, and the list goes on. There are literally hundreds of eligible academic programs students can take.

Now that you know the Smart Grant requirements how can you apply? As with all federal loans, a student must first fill out and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form. This application will be considered first by the college, and first for Pell Grant eligibility. Because the Smart Grant is offered to recipients of the Penn Grant, no separate application will be needed. The student will then wait for good news from the school. After approval, the grant is sent directly to the college from the U.S. Department of Education. It should be noted that the Smart Grant and Pell Grant combined will not necessarily match or go over the total cost of a student’s education.

The Smart Grant may be a very convenient option to you, particularly if you are already interested in one of these high-demand educational degrees.   

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