Lack of federal support ends some student grants

The federal Academic Competitiveness Grant and the National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant will not be awarded to students during the 2011-12 school year.

An e-mail from the department of financial aid was sent out to students on March 8, stating that the 2010-11 school year is the last year that the ACG and SMART grants will be awarded because federal funding was halted.

The termination of the grants means some students will struggle to find other means of paying for school.

“I think the grants are paying for a lot of my schooling,” freshman Megan McGeeney said.

The ACG and the SMART grant were established during the Bush Administration, according to Nicolas Valdivia, director of financial aid. Congress did not grant authorization to continue funding for the two grants because of the recent rush to cut programs in attempts to reduce the federal deficit.

According to, the ACG was awarded for the first time during the 2006-07 school year as an addition to the Pell Grant.

First-year undergraduate students with an ACG are awarded up to $750 and second-year undergraduate students with an ACG are awarded up to $1,300. The SMART grant is available to third and fourth year undergraduate students and is also awarded in addition to the Pell Grant. Students accepting the SMART grant are awarded up to $4,000 for their third and fourth years as undergraduate students.

“Now that they’re canceling it, I have to find other ways to get money,” freshman Steve Steffes said.

He said that he doesn’t think anyone will agree with what is being done because many people need the money that comes from those grants.

According to Valdivia, the federal government funds the two grants, making the return of the two grants ultimately their decision.

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