Students who have been determined eligible for the Federal Pell Grant may also be eligible for the National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (SMART) Grant. If you’re interested in the physical, life, or computer sciences, mathematics, technology, engineering, a critical foreign language, or non-major single liberal arts programs, don’t rule out this generous grant.
What is a SMART Grant?
The SMART Grant came onto the scene in 2005 to reward students who, yes, are smart, but are also interested in fields predominantly in math and science and other high-demand areas. As a federal grant, you’ll need to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, to determine whether you’re eligible for the SMART Grant and how much funding you could be eligible to receive. (You should always fill that application out anyway as it’s your ticket to free money from all government programs.) Your college should notify you if you’re eligible for the grant.
Who may be eligible for SMART Grants?
Only those in their third or fourth year of an undergraduate degree program – or fifth year of a five-year program – are eligible for the grant. Eligible recipients must already be Pell recipients, and show that they have high enough need to qualify for grant funding beyond their Pell award. Students must also have a minimum GPA of 3.0, and have at least one class in an eligible field of study the year the grant would be awarded.
How much money can I get?
Eligible students receive up to $4,000 for each of the third and fourth years of undergraduate study. The amount of the SMART 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.
Do I need to know anything else?
Students who are eligible for SMART Grants may find themselves ineligible for the grant the following year if they’re not enrolled in at least one course in the fields of study required by the grant. But you don’t need to be majoring in that particular science field, for example, for your class to qualify if your major is in another science field that has been approved by the program.