Academic Competitiveness Grant

Along with the National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (SMART), the Higher Education Reconciliation Act of 2005 also created the Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG). If you’re also a Federal Pell Grant recipient, contact your college’s financial aid office for more information about this award if you’ve also been targeting merit-based awards, as this grant rewards academic achievement.

What is an ACG Grant?

The award was first disbursed for the 2006-2007 school year for first-year college students who graduated from high school after January 1, 2006, and for second-year college students who graduated from high school after January 1, 2005. As awards are only given to students who also qualify for Pell Grants, the program is both need- and merit-based. You’ll need to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, to determine whether you’re eligible for the TEACH Grant and how much funding you could be eligible to receive.

Who may be eligible for ACG Grants?

To be eligible for the grant, you must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen, have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and have completed a "rigorous secondary school program of study.” Such programs include Honors, IB or AP courses, and rigorous secondary school programs are listed annually by the Secretary of Education. Those rigorous secondary school programs could also include four years of English, three years of science, and one year of foreign language. This meaning you need to complete all of those to be eligible, not just one. Those who are found to be eligible during their sophomore year of college must also maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA.

How much money can I receive?

Students can receive up to $750 for the first year of undergraduate study, and up to $1,300 for the second year of undergraduate study. The amount of the grant, when combined with a Pell Grant, may not exceed the student's cost of attendance. As with all federal aid, that amount is subject to change, and students may receive less than the maximum depending on the amount of students found eligible for the grant each year.

What else should I be aware of?

As of July 1, 2009, the Secretary of Education will not be adding new programs to the list of those programs considered “rigorous.” That list is still subject to change, however, if a program official lobbies for a particular program’s inclusion on that list.

Latest College & Financial Aid News

End of the Year 2017 Scholarships

December 13, 2017

by Susan Dutca

'Oh what fun it is to win scholarships to help pay for college! We've curated a selection of the best scholarships to apply for before the year is over. (Considering the 3.7 million scholarships we have, it was no easy task). Check out this list of 2017 scholarships and get a jump start on your financial aid package for next year by winning scholarships for college. : [...]

"It's OK to Be White" Protestor Turns Herself In

December 12, 2017

by Susan Dutca

Photo by Rebecca Lurye/Hartford Courant

Midway through his "It's OK to be White" speech at the University of Connecticut, Conservative commentator Lucian Wintrich was arrested and charged with attempted larceny and disorderly conduct after he grabbed a woman who had swiped his notes off his lectern. The charges have since been dropped and in a reversal, the woman was arrested and charged with attempted larceny and disorderly conduct.

[...]

Stanford Caught Lying by Grad Student/Former Google Intern

December 5, 2017

by Susan Dutca

Stanford Business School officials have admitted to giving steep price breaks to preferred applicants while on their website, for years, claimed that "all fellowships are need based." The news came after one student discovered a glitch on their website that gave public access to confidential student financial aid records. [...]

Last Reviewed: December 2017