SMART Grants are not accessible for graduate students or those students that have already completed a bachelor's degree with no exceptions possible. The student must be enrolled in a four year degree program, be in either their third or the fourth year of said program and be eligible to receive a Pell Grant in the same year that they want to be considered for a SMART Grant. Students must also maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0.
Students are required to sign a statement of educational purpose, are not allowed to owe a refund on another a Title IV grant, and cannot currently have a Title IV loan that is defaulted.
While the program itself is overseen by the Department of Education, the institution that the student is enrolled in will act as the disbursing agent. The institution calculates and pays the SMART Grants. This is done using a payment schedule developed by the Department of Education. The Department of Education will then calculate whether the student is eligible for assistance and the office the student sent the original application sent to will send the student a notification whether they were eligible for assistance. The student then delivers this received notification to the institution and will have their grant calculated from there. The funding available and the number of recipients that the institution estimates determine this payment schedule.
The total grants were $230,000,000 in 2007; approximately $260,000,000 in 2008; and approximately $270,000,000 in 2009. Depending on the need of the student and how much they are assigned, the grant received through the program can range upwards of $4000. SMART Grants assistance cannot exceed the student's actual cost of education. The average reward for students was around $3,291.
Due to recent cutbacks, there is no guarantee word yet on whether the SMART Grant will be available for students for the 2011-2012 year and onwards.
SMART Grants - Educational Grants for the Student of Math, Science and Languages
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About The Author
Michael Saunders has an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
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