ACG Requirements

Grants provided through the federal Academic Competitive Grant Program (ACG) are designed to help with tuition for qualified undergraduate students The following are the eligibility requirements for the Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG):

  • Student must be a U.S. citizen
  • The Student must be a Federal Pell Grant recipient or eligible for a Pell Grant
  • The student must be enrolled full-time in an undergraduate degree program
  • The student must be enrolled full-time (at least 12 credits per semester), in the first or second academic year of his/her undergraduate program, and attending an accredited two-year or four-year degree program
  • First-year undergraduate grant applicants must have completed high school on or after January 1, 2006
  • Second-year undergraduate grant applicants students must have completed high school on or after January 1, 2005
  • The student must have completed a rigorous high school program of study as designated by their state of residence
  • If the student is a first-year undergraduate student, the student may not have previously enrolled in or received a degree in an undergraduate program
  • If the student is a second-year student, she/he must have at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average (based on a 4.0 scale) for the first completed undergraduate academic year and must be a sophomore with no fewer than completed 30 credits and no more than 59 completed credits toward an undergraduate degree
  • The Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG) combined with any Pell Grant funding received may not exceed the cost of attendance at the school in which the student is enrolled

To determine whether your state, home schooling or other academic curriculum meets the requirements for a “recognized rigorous secondary school program”, you may visit this link online:http://www.ed.gov/admins/finaid/about/ac-smart/state-programs06.html.

The federal government has provided three scenarios for rigorous secondary programs.

  • The State Scholars Initiative – Students who participate in and successfully complete a State Scholars program are eligible for ACG presuming all other eligibility requirements are also met. This state scholars program is currently in place in fourteen states and utilizes the recommendations set forth by the National Commission on Excellence in Education. It requires at least four years of English, three years of math, including Algebra I, Algebra II and Geometry, three years of basic lab science including biology, chemistry, physics, three and a half years of social studies, and two years of study in one language (other than English).
  • A required program similar to the State Scholars Initiative – Including four years of English, three years of Math, including Algebra I and a higher level course such as Algebra II, Geometry, or Data Analysis and Statistics, three years of science including one year each of at least two of at least two courses in biology, chemistry or physics, three years of social studies, and one year of a language other than English. The student must successfully complete this program and have transcripts or an official record of grades to demonstrate completion, and must be otherwise eligible for the ACG.
  • Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate courses and test scores – This program includes a minimum of two Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses during high school and a minimum passing grade on each exam for each of those classes. Students must score 3.0 or more on AP exams and 4.0 or more on IB exams, and must be otherwise eligible for the ACG.

The U. S. Department of Education (USDE) will use the information collected in the completed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application to identify eligible students and notify the student’s college or university. Students who have already received their financial aid for the fall and who are eligible for ACG will have their financial aid packages adjusted to reflect this new federal grant.

You should not that federal law stipulates that the ACG when combined with the student’s expected family contribution (the EFC as defined by the information you provide in your FAFSA application), other forms of financial aid, and other resources cannot exceed the cost of attendance at the school in which the student is enrolled. In some cases, therefore the ACG will be designated to replace other financial funding, especially student and parent loans. Students are always notified of the new award and adjustments to other financial aid.

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