Academic Competitiveness Grants and National SMART Grants

David Bergeron Office of Postsecondary Education Sue O’Flaherty Federal Student Aid Jeff Baker Federal Student Aid
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The Higher Education Reconciliation Act of 2005 (HERA) created two new grant programs
Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG)

National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (National SMART)
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Both Programs ACG and National SMART Grants

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Both Programs

Rules and Regulations
 Interim Final Regulations published on July 3, 2006  Invitation to comment through August 17, 2006 for possible changes for 20072008  Negotiated Rulemaking to begin in fall for 2008-2009 and beyond. Watch for IFAP announcements
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Both Programs
Authorization and Funding • Funding for these programs is not subject to annual appropriations process: 2006-07 -- $790 million 2007-08 -- $850 million 2008-09 -- $920 million 2009-10 -- $960 million 2010-11 -- $1.01 billion If funding insufficient, ratable reduction. No reduction for 2006-07 Funds not spent in one year are carried over to subsequent years.
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Both Programs Award Amounts ACG –  First Academic Year of student’s

program of study - $750  Second Academic Year of student’s program of study - $1,300 National SMART Grant –  $4,000 per year for each of the student’s third and fourth academic year of undergraduate study
Note: There will be second year ACG and both third and fourth year National SMART Grants in 2006-07. 6

Both Programs

Institutional Participation
 All schools that participate in Pell Grants and offer an eligible educational program must participate in ACG and National SMART Grants  No new Program Participation Agreement (PPA)  No Administrative Cost Allowance (ACA)
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Academic Competitiveness Grants (ACG)

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ACG

Eligibility Requirements  U.S. citizen  Federal Pell Grant recipient  First or second year student in a two or four year degree program  Full-time enrollment  No specific major required
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ACG

Eligibility Requirements
1st year students  May not have been previously enrolled in a program of undergraduate education  Have completed secondary school program of study after January 1, 2006  2nd year students  Have completed secondary school program of study after January 1, 2005  Have a 3.0 G.P.A. in an eligible program 10

ACG

Eligibility Requirements
 Student must have completed a rigorous secondary school program of study  ED has outlined options to meet requirement in DCL GEN-06-08 and in the interim regulations

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ACG

Options for Rigorous Program
1. State Designated Program  State Submitted Program  An advanced or honors secondary school program established by a state and in existence for the 04-05 or 05-06 school year  State Scholars Initiative
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ACG

Options for Rigorous Program
2. A set of courses as outlined in the Secretary’s May 2 letter to states. 3. Completion of at least two Advanced Placement courses with passing test score of 3 or two International Baccalaureate courses with passing test score of 4
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ACG

Options for Rigorous Program
Courses Similar to State Scholars Initiative  4 years of English  3 years of math (Algebra I and above)  3 years of science (Bio, Chem, Physics)  3 years of social studies  1 year of a foreign language

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ACG

Options for Rigorous Program
 All states responded by June 1 to Secretary’s May 2 request.  45 states have one or more designated programs.  Students from these states will have all four options for their high school graduates.  Students from other states will have the last three options listed on the two previous slides.
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ACG
1 Student Completes FAFSA AND SUBMITS TO FSA 2 FSA NOTIFIES STUDENT OF POTENTIAL ELIGIBILITY

3 STUDENT GOES TO WEBSITE

4 STUDENT SELFIDENTIFIES POTENTIAL ELIG. & PROGRAM ON WEB PAGE 7 SCHOOLCONFIRMS AND DOCUMENTS ELIGIBILITY

5 FSA INFORMS SCHOOLS OF POTENTIAL ELIGIBILITY

6 SCHOOL IDENTIFIES ELIGIBLE ACG STUDENTS USING EXISTING INFORMATION

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COD SYSTEM

9 COD PROCESSES GRANT & SCHOOL DRAWS DOWN FUNDS FOR DISBURSEMENT

ACG

Applicant Self-Identification Process
 Department notifies potentially eligible

students of how to provide additional eligibility information.  Student provides additional information on website or calls toll-free number.  Department sends student responses to schools.
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ACG

Applicant Self-Identification
Emails and letters were sent to students who had applied prior to July 1 and who are potential ACG recipients. Notifications sent to – Pell Eligible Year in School (FAFSA response of 0, 1, 2,) U.S. Citizen Date of Birth
Notice provides instructions on how to self-identify (website or toll-free number).
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ACG

Applicant Self-Identification
After July 1, - FOTW Filers: Potential ACG recipients

will submit the additional information at the time they complete their FAFSA.
 Paper Filers: potential ACG recipients

will receive a comment directing them to the website and toll-free number.
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ACG

Applicant Self-Identification
Student presented with questions on their high school curriculum –
 Date high school curriculum completed  State where high school curriculum completed  Drop-down box with state designated programs AP/IB course and test completion question Listed courses question
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ACG

ACG

ACG

ACG

ACG

Applicant Self-Identification
Results of student self-identification will be sent to all schools listed on student’s record- CPS will send ISIR’s with new comment codes  If no other changes, message class will be IGAA07AP  Special “flat file” with separate message class of ED2007OP  Student specific information available using FAA 25 Access

ACG

Applicant Self-Identification
 Comment codes will be provided on SAR for student, and ISIR for schools.  Comment codes can be found in ISIR positions 1677 to 1736.  Multiple comment codes - one for each rigorous criteria selected by student.
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ACG

Applicant Self-Identification
SAR and ISIR Comments  Comment Code #267: SAR comment explaining potential ACG eligibility  Comment Code #268: SAR comment for students who selected a rigorous high school program or state scholars program  Comment Code #269: SAR comment for students who reported completion of AP/IB courses and tests. 27

ACG

Applicant Self-Identification SAR and ISIR Comments
 Comment Code #270: SAR comment for students who selected coursework completion  Comment code #271 advises student that their Financial Aid Administrator will determine their eligibility.

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ACG
1 Student Completes FAFSA AND SUBMITS TO FSA 2 FSA NOTIFIES STUDENT OF POTENTIAL ELIGIBILITY

3 STUDENT GOES TO WEBSITE

4 STUDENT SELFIDENTIFIES POTENTIAL ELIG. & PROGRAM ON WEB PAGE 7 SCHOOLCONFIRMS AND DOCUMENTS ELIGIBILITY

5 FSA INFORMS SCHOOLS OF POTENTIAL ELIGIBILITY

6 SCHOOL IDENTIFIES ELIGIBLE ACG STUDENTS USING EXISTING INFORMATION

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COD SYSTEM

9 COD PROCESSES GRANT & SCHOOL DRAWS DOWN FUNDS FOR DISBURSEMENT

ACG

Documenting Rigorous Program
 Institutions are responsible for determining the eligibility of students who ED reported as having self-identified eligibility.  On at least the standard(s) selected by the student .  Institutions are also able to identify eligible students based on records they have (e.g., high school transcripts, test scores).
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ACG

Documenting Rigorous Program
 Documentation from “cognizant authority” can be provided by –  The student  Directly from “cognizant authority”  Home schooled students, the parent or guardian is the cognizant authority  For transfer students, an institution may rely on another school’s determination that student completed a rigorous program.  NSLDS will store the data
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ACG

Grade Point Average
For second academic year ACG, student must have a GPA of at least 3.0 from the first academic year.  Only determined one time, prior to first disbursement of second academic year award.  Special rule for transfer student –  For student who transfers after completing first academic year, the new school must calculate GPA using the grades from all coursework accepted from prior schools.
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National SMART Grants

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SMART Grant

Eligibility Requirements
 U.S. citizen  Pell Grant recipient for same payment period  Third or fourth year student in a four year degree program  Full-time enrollment in an eligible major  Cumulative 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale in student’s eligible program  No rigorous high school program required
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SMART Grant National SMART Major Fields of Study

Major Fields of Study
    Computer Science  Mathematics  Physical Sciences Engineering  Designated Technology Foreign Languages Life Sciences Identified by CIP* code in DCL GEN-0606
*Classification of Instructional Program
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SMART Grant

Monitoring Major
 Requires that a recipient – – Declare an eligible major, or – If school policy does not require a major before 3rd year, student must show intent to declare eligible major.  In both cases, student must enroll in coursework leading to completion of the program with that eligible major.
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SMART Grant

Monitoring Major
• If student changes to an eligible major between payment periods – – Eligible for new payment period
– Cannot be paid for prior periods

• If student changes to an ineligible major between payment periods – – No grant for that payment period
– Prior disbursements need not be repaid
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SMART Grant

Monitoring Major
• If student changes to an eligible major within a payment period – – Can be paid for the entire payment period
– Cannot be paid for prior periods

• If student changes to an ineligible major within a payment period –
– No additional disbursements – Prior disbursement need not be repaid
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SMART Grant

Grade Point Average
Student must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 for all payment periods.  Calculated from last completed payment period.  Reviewed prior to each disbursement.  Provision for “interim disbursement” at school’s risk.

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SMART Grant

Grade Point Average
Special rule for student who transfers after completing two academic years, the new school For first payment period upon transfer, must use the grades from all coursework accepted from prior schools for GPA determination.  For subsequent payment periods, comply with school academic policies
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SMART Grant

Eligibility Determination
 No student self-identification as in ACG  Institutions are responsible for reviewing records to identify all eligible students –  ISIR for Pell Eligibility, Citizenship, and other Title IV eligibility requirements  Academic Records for –  Eligible Major or, if available, intent  GPA  Fulltime Enrollment
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Both Programs ACG and National SMART Grants

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Both Programs

Determining Enrollment Status
 Schools must use their Pell Grant recalculation date policy to determine enrollment status for ACG and National SMART Grant  Must use same recalculation date (census date) that is used for Pell Grants
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Both Programs

Duration of Student Eligibility
 For ACG, students are restricted to one grant for each of of the student’s first academic year and one grant for the student’s second academic year.  For National SMART Grant, students are restricted to one grant for each of of the student’s third and fourth academic year in an eligible major.
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Both Programs

Academic Year
 For both programs, schools must use their Title IV academic year definition to determine the student’s academic year in the program of study.  HEA provides that an academic year for an undergraduate student be a –  Minimum of 24 semester or trimester credit hours or 36 quarter credit hours
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Both Programs

Academic Year
 Minimum Title IV definition of academic year is often not the same as grade level progression for loans and for other institutional purposes (i.e., 30 credit hours to progress from grade level 1 to grade level 2)

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Both Programs

Academic Year
 School may define its Title IV academic year as more than 24 credit hours – 30 in the examples.  If school is semester, trimester, or quarter and it defines fulltime in the summer as requiring 12 credits there is –
 No impact on 12 credits for full-time Pell  No impact on 6 credits for FFEL/DL loans
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Both Programs

Academic Year- ACG Example
 Institution Defines Title IV Academic Year as 24 credit hours but grade level progression as 30 credit hours.  First year ACG recipient completes 24 semester hours  Student now eligible for second year ACG award while still “freshman” and still at first year loan limit.
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Both Programs

Academic Year- ACG Example
 Institution Defines Title IV Academic Year as 30 credit hours and grade level progression as 30 credit hours.  First year ACG recipient completes 24 semester hours  Student not yet eligible for second year ACG award, because 30 credits required to complete first academic year. Student still at first year loan level.
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Both Programs

Academic Year- SMART Example
 Institution Defines Title IV Academic Year as 24 credit hours but grade level progression as 30 credit hours.  Student has completed a total of 48 semester hours in eligible program  Student now eligible for first National SMART Grant while still “sophomore” and still at second year loan limit.
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Both Programs

Academic Year- SMART Example
 Institution Defines Title IV Academic Year as 30 credit hours but grade level progression as 30 credit hours.  Otherwise eligible student has completed a total of 48 semester hours in eligible program  Student not yet eligible for first National SMART Grant while still “sophomore” and still at second year loan limit.
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Both Programs

Disbursements
 Funds maintained and disbursed according to Title IV cash management rules.  Disbursements made on payment period basis.  If disbursement is for a cross-over payment period, Pell Grant and ACG/National SMART Grant must be assigned to same award year
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Both Programs

Disbursements
 Student may not receive ACG or National SMART concurrently from more than one school  ACG and National SMART must be received from same school from which Pell Grant is received
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Both Programs

Transfer Students
Determination of remaining eligibility for transfers based on % of scheduled award remaining Example: Student receives first year ACG for two quarters for a total of $500 has received 2/3 of scheduled award. Student is only eligible, as a first year student, for the remaining 1/3 of the scheduled award.
Note: Scheduled award may be different if balance of first academic year is in a new award year
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Both Programs

Need Based Grants
 Total of EFC and all estimated financial aid cannot exceed cost of attendance  ACG and National SMART may not replace EFC in need equation  May reduce other aid, including FSEOG, to avoid an overaward.  May reduce ACG/National SMART award to avoid an overaward.  Special treatment of VA benefits  No overaward tolerance 55

Both Programs
1 Student Completes FAFSA AND SUBMITS TO FSA 2 FSA NOTIFIES STUDENT OF POTENTIAL ELIGIBILITY

3 STUDENT GOES TO WEBSITE

4 STUDENT SELFIDENTIFIES POTENTIAL ELIG. & PROGRAM ON WEB PAGE 7 SCHOOLCONFIRMS AND DOCUMENTS ELIGIBILITY

5 FSA INFORMS SCHOOLS OF POTENTIAL ELIGIBILITY

6 SCHOOL IDENTIFIES ELIGIBLE ACG STUDENTS USING EXISTING INFORMATION

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COD SYSTEM

9 COD PROCESSES GRANT & SCHOOL DRAWS DOWN FUNDS FOR DISBURSEMENT

Both Programs

Availability of Funds
 Initial authorizations in GAPS and COD with Electronic Statements of Account (ESOA) on July 29, 2006.
 Not like campus-based.  No institutional allocation,  Like Pell or Direct Loans

 First draw downs from GAPS available first week of August 2006  Schools will receive separate authorization for each program
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Both Programs

Availability of Funds
 GAPS Award Number for ACG will be P375A06xxxx  GAPS award number for National Smart Grant will be : P376506xxxx  “xxxx” are populated with school’s GAPS award sequence number that currently exists for the Pell Grant and Direct Loan programs
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Both Programs

Reporting of Awards and Payments
 Schools report student specific awards and disbursements with COD Release 5.2, on December 16, 2006.  COD will begin reporting to NSLDS on December 17, 2006.  COD can handle one academic year for loans and a different grade level for grants.  Academic year is an element in award block 59

Both Programs

Reporting of Awards and Payments
COD XML Common Record - Student name  Student SSN  Student date of birth  Student citizenship  Student grade level  Award amount  Disbursement amount
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Both Programs

Reporting of Awards and Payments
 For ACG – Eligibility Reason Code
 State Designated Program: “01”  Six-digit ‘program code’ found on  On flat file  On FAA Access  On list posted to IFAP  AP/IB: “02”  List of Courses: “03”

 For National SMART Grant  Major/CIP code

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Both Programs

EDExpress
 September 1, 2006, EDExpress 3.0 release  Functionality includes:  Ability to import an ACG Data file and print  Ability to enter and store ACG and National SMART grant originations and disbursements
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Both Programs

EDExpress
 EDExpress functionality continued  EDExpress software will hold originations and disbursements until COD system is ready to receive.  Schools able to import ESOAs for ACG and National SMART Grants
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Both Programs

Key Implementation Dates  July 1, 2006
 ACG Web Screens on FOTW, Student Inquiry, and FAA Access  Email and paper notifications sent to potentially eligible students  ACG SAR Comments  Schools begin receiving ISIRs and Flat Files
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Both Programs

Key Implementation Dates  July 29, 2006
 ESOA with an Initial Authorization (also known as Current Funding Level-CFL) available for Advanced Funded or Heightened Cash Monitoring 1 (HCM1) funding methods  School can view CFL on COD website: www.cod.ed.gov
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Both Programs

Key Implementation Dates  September 1, 2006
 EDExpress release 3.0 available

 December 16, 200
 School able to send origination and disbursement information about ACG and National SMART awards using new COD XML Common Record Block Or by submitting individual records via the COD Web Site.  EDExpress 4.0 available
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Both Programs

Key Implementation Dates  December 17, 2006
 NSLDS begins to receive ACG and National SMART award information

 April 14, 2007
 Reports available for ACG and SMART  Includes reconciliation, YTD reports, SAS, etc
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Questions

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