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National SMART Grant

There are many educational grants out there for college bound students most times the federal grants like the Pell grant (best known), the FSEOP Grant and others are need based grants. Need based grants are money grants that do not have to be paid back. They are free dollars for higher education.


The SMART Grant is a bit different than the need based grants because this type of grant is geared at a specific academic audience. One of the major flaws in the American education system is it would seem that we are unable to keep up with the rest of the world in science and math.

Encouraging students to take a harder look at opportunities in the Science and Math fields is a top priority for the Department of Education hence the National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant or the National SMART grant.

Who is Eligible?

Recipients of this grant like all grants must meet specific criteria to receive the grant. According to the Department of Education website recipients must be:

“students in the third and fourth years of undergraduate study (or fifth year of a five-year program) to at least half-time students who are eligible for the Federal Pell Grant and who are majoring in physical, life, or computer sciences, mathematics, technology, engineering or a critical foreign language; or non-major single liberal arts programs. The student must also maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 in course work required for the major. The National SMART Grant award is in addition to the student's Pell Grant award.”

These requirements obviously narrow down greatly who will be eligible for assistance, but if you fall into any of these categories you can expect to be almost instantly eligible for the grant but you have to ask for it, it is not automatic. You will have to go to the financial aid office at whatever institution you are attending and request the SMART grant to get it.

How Much Can You Get?

This is a rather generous grant! You can get up to four thousand dollars for both the third and fourth year of study if you are eligible. Four thousand dollars can be applied to tuition or living expenses.

It is important to visit every avenue to get money for higher education. Today a degree from an accredited university is necessary to get a decent paying job.