The National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (SMART) Grant are provided to qualifying undergraduate students who are in their third or fourth year of post secondary education majoring in qualifying undergraduate programs and who are in need of financial assistance. The rational behind this grant is to help and encourage students graduate in areas that are recognized as important to national security.
History of National SMART Grant
The National SMART Grant award was proposed by Senator Bill Frist, former chief resident of cardiac transplant surgery at Standford and Faculty member at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The SMART grant was established as part of the Higher Education Reconciliation Act of 2005, the aim was to ensure that America maintained it’s competitive advantage over developing countries like India and China when it came to leadership and advances in technology and sciences.
Between 2005 and 2010 it is estimated that close to 600,000 students have benefited from the National SMART award program.
What are the eligibility criteria for National SMART Grant?
To be eligible for National SMART grant award, a potential student applicant must meet the following criteria
- The student must be in his or her third or fourth year of undergraduate study. (fifth year in a five year undergraduate program)
- The student must be majoring in an approved program of study. Get the complete list of eligible majors for SMART grant here. A sample listing of approved programs are below
- Computer Science
- Foreign language
- Liberal Arts and Sciences
- Life Sciences
- The student must be a U.S. citizen or eligible permanent resident.
- The student must have become eligible for the Pell Grant during the same award year.
- The student must be enrolled at least half time, majoring in any of the fields of studies mentioned above.
- The student must have at least a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale at the end of the second award year and continue to maintain a 3.0 GPA that must be verified before the beginning of each semester.
How do you apply for the National SMART grant?
As with all federal aid, your application for a SMART grant begins with filing your Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Eligible students will be identified by the Colleges themselves based on their GPA, major and eligibility for a Pell Grant. There is no separate application that a student must file for being considered for the SMART grant. The college will notify all potentially eligible students regarding their eligibility and award for a SMART grant.
How much money is awarded as SMART grant?
A student typically is awarded funds ranging from $750 – $4000 for each of the third and fourth years of undergraduate study. The amount awarded as part of SMART grant and Pell grant combined together cannot exceed the cost of attendance. In case the number of eligible students for SMART Grants are more than the amount allocated then the amount awarded to each eligible student is correspondingly reduced.
During the fiscal year 2010 a sum of $1,336,000,000 was awarded to the eligible students. The average amount awarded to each student came to about $2560.
How is SMART Grant funding disbursed?
if you are awarded the SMART grant, the money from the grant will be applied to any outstanding tuition, room and boarding, supplies and other institutional fees. If you have funds left over, the balance will be mailed to you or deposited into your bank account.
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