Frequently Asked Questions about the Academic Competitiveness Grant

The Federal Government Higher Education Reconciliation Act of 2005 (HERA) created new grant programs for full-time students who attend accredited undergraduate programs, and who are also eligible for the Federal Pell Grant. One of the grants is called the Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG). This grant, like the Pell Grant, does not have to be repaid. The following FAQ will help you better understand the ACG, the grant guidelines and restrictions and other details.

1. What is the history and purpose of the Academic Competitiveness Grant? 
The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, S. 1932, created a new program called the “Academic Competitiveness Grant” Program, found in Section 401A of the Higher Education Act. The Academic Competitiveness Council was established to administer this program. The Council is chaired by the Secretary of Education. Its members consist of Federal government officials with responsibility to manage Federal programs that promote math and science. The Council’s duties include identification of Federal programs with a math and science focus, identifying target populations served by those programs, determining the effectiveness of the programs, identifying areas of overlap or duplication and making recommendations to efficiently integrate and coordinate those programs. The ACG award and other awards were established as part of the Higher Education Reconciliation Act of 2005 to further assistant students who are eligible for Pell Grants. For more information on the ACG, visit this link: For detailed information about the implementation of this grant, visit this link online:

2. When does the new grant start? 
Eligibility begins July 1, 2006 and is applied to the 2006-2007 school year for first-year undergraduate students who graduated from high school after 1/1/06 and second-year undergraduate students who graduated from high school after 1/1/05.

3. How do I know if I am eligible for the ACG?
To receive this grant you must be a U.S. citizen, who is eligible for the Pell Grant, and you must be enrolled in your first or second year of an accredited two-year or four-year undergraduate degree program. If you are a second-year undergraduate applicant you must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or more on a 4.0 scale to apply. You must have completed a rigorous secondary school program as defined by the federal government to include one of the following: receipt of a state advanced or honors diploma, completion of a State Scholar Initiative program or a similar set of course requirements or achievement of a specified score on Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate tests. For more information on “rigorous secondary school program” eligibility visit this website: Additionally, eligibility requirements forbid students who have already earned or studied for an undergraduate degree in the past.

4. How much money can I get through this grant program?
If you are eligible you can get up to $750 for your first year of undergraduate study and up to $1,300 for the second year of undergraduate full-time study. The total of your ACG award, combined with other funding or grants cannot exceed your financial need as determined by the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). You cannot receive more than one ACG award in any academic year. You should know that ALL annual student awards may be reduced for eligible students if the government changes the funding or runs out of funds in any given year.

5. How Do I apply for an ACG award? 
All you have to do is submit or update your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. Among the considerations for grants and financial aid now included in the FAFSA review is the review for Pell, ACG and other grants. After you save and submit your new or updated application online, you will be notified if you are eligible for additional (800) 433-3243 , (800) 433-3243,or (800) 730-8913 for TTY for the hearing-impaired.

6. How will I know if I am getting an ACG award?
You will be notified by email or by postal delivery if you are eligible. You will receive information about the amount of the award and you will be told if any other financial aid changes will be made by your school as a result of this award.

7. If I get ACG funding, how is it disbursed to me or to my school? 
If you are eligible for funds, the Office of the Bursar will apply the Federal Academic Competitiveness Grant award to your outstanding fees e.g. tuition, room and board, and other institutional charges. Any Federal Academic Competitiveness Grant funds remaining after application to your tuition related charges will be mailed to you by check or directly deposited to the bank of your designation, as you choose.

Both comments and pings are currently closed.