ACG Grant Information

The ACG Grant and Your School Funding

Finding the money needed to continue your education can be a vexing time.  There are many different choices available.  If you don’t understand what loan and grant programs are available or are unfamiliar with the area, names like the Pell Grant, ACG program and many others can sound confusing and frustrating.  However, a little understanding goes a long way.  The ACG Grant is one of the most questioned forms of school funding, though it can be one of the most beneficial.

What is the ACG Grant Program?

The ACG program (Academic Competitiveness Grant) is a form of educational funding designed to benefit those most in need.  The ACG Grant is available only to those who meet certain rigorous criteria, such as Pell Grant eligibility.  Additionally, students must also complete a rigorous secondary school program of study.  Each state in the US offers a different course of study, which meets the criteria for the ACG Grant.

How Much Can I Get with the ACG Grant?

The ACG Grant provides annual amounts for students from $750 for the first year of undergraduate study to $1,300 for the second year of undergraduate study.  The ACG program is only available to those enrolled in undergraduate programs at either 2-year or 4-year schools; additionally, not all schools participate in this program.

What are the Requirements for the ACG Program?

In order to attain the ACG Grant, students must be eligible for the program.  Unlike other programs like the Pell Grant, the ACG program has stringent requirements, including:

  • Student must be eligible for the Pell Grant
  • Student must have completed a rigorous secondary school program of study
  • Must be a US citizen
  • Must be enrolled full time in a 2-year or 4-year program
  • Cannot have been previously enrolled in an undergraduate program if student is in the first year of study
  • If student is in the second year of study, a GPA of 3.0 is required for the first year of study
  • Only available to first year students graduating after January 1, 2006
  • Only available to second year students graduating after January 1, 2005

How Do I Apply for the ACG Grant?

As with all other supplemental funding for education, you will need to fill out an FAFSA form.  You can find these with your high school guidance counselor, as well as through online sources.  If you fill out the FAFSA in electronic form, you will be automatically told if you qualify to answer the ACG battery of questions.  If you fill out the long form and send it in via traditional mail, you will receive a response alerting you to the fact that you are eligible to fill out the ACG questionnaire.

How Do I Know If I Am Eligible for the Pell Grant?

Pell Grant eligibility is required for the ACG Grant.  Filling out the FAFSA will tell you if you are eligible for the Pell Grant.  These grants are made to those in the most financial need and have the lowest EFCs (Estimated Family Contributions).  Additionally, Pell Grants are given to those in financial need in an ascending order, beginning with the lowest incomes and moving upward.  You must receive a Pell Grant in order to receive ACG funding.

What Counts as a “Rigorous Secondary School Course of Study”?

Each state in the US offers a qualifying course of study. Below, you’ll find a brief list of qualifying programs.  Your exact programs can be found through your guidance counselor.

  • The State Scholars Initiative: This course is offered in 14 states in the US.  It requires 4 ears of English, 3 years of mathematics (Algebra, Algebra II and Geometry are required), 3 years of laboratory science (physics, chemistry and biology are included), 3 ½ years of social studies (history, etc), 2 years of the same foreign language (any offered other than English).
  • A program similar to the State Scholars Initiative and meeting all the same subject requirements.
  • AP (Advanced Placement) or International Baccalaureate courses: must have 2 AP or IB courses in high school and passing score on all exams.

Any of these courses can constitute the required course of study; however, all exams must have the minimum passing grade, in order for the student to be considered “competitive.”

Notes on the ACG Program

While the Pell Grant is required for the ACG program, the combined amounts cannot exceed the total amount of school tuition.  If so, the ACG program will be cut down until the exact amount is offered.  Additionally, if the demand for ACG funding outstrips available funding, each student will receive lower than the specified amount, in order to provide funding for all qualifying students.

How is the Money Attained?

Your school will handle disbursement of funds.  Usually, all ACG funds will be put directly towards tuition; however, some schools may give the student a check, put part of the funds toward tuition and part in check form or another combination.  Each school will payout according to their enrollment plan, i.e. per semester, quarter, trimester or twice each enrollment year.

Who Determines if I am Eligible for the ACG?

Like many other financial aid packages, the financial officer at your school will determine which applicants are eligible and which are not.  Additionally, the school will determine the amount awarded to each student based on the number of students awarded the funding.  This can result in lower than expected grant amounts when there are very high numbers of eligible students.

What Specific Information is required for ACG Program Acceptance?

The only form you must fill out is the FAFSA.  If you are shown eligible, you will be given a battery of questions specifically for the ACG program.  No other documentation is required, other than those required for the FAFSA.  These documents include mortgage documents, current tax return information, bank statements, W-2s, state authorized identification and a valid driver’s license.  If you are a married student, all information is also required of your spouse.

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