National SMART Grants Get you Up to $4,000!

National SMART Grants are another grant under the umbrella of financial aid. Available for junior and seniors who already qualify for the Pell Grant, the National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (SMART) Grant is unique for sure.  

Let’s dig right into these meat and potatoes and check out what exactly the SMART Grant is, its origins, eligibility, application process, and how much can you get.

What are SMART Grants?

As stated above, the “SMART” in the National SMART Grant stands for National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent.  Smart and grant…those two words seem to fit well together right? Getting a college grant for college is a SMART way to approach what will soon be your fate with college tuition. But are these grants at the end of the day dust and matter that float out there and are never really intangible?

For those interested in the physical, life, computer sciences, mathematics, technology, engineering, foreign language, or non-major, liberal arts program should consider this very generous grant. It’s a pretty wife range of degrees as well.  

SMART Grant Origins

The SMART Grant origins can be traced back to 2005. The intent was to reward those students interested in the math and science fields along with some other high-demand areas.

Also like the STEAM and STEM fields these are suffering from a critical shortage. These is motivation for sure for those who want to explore and pursue this path. Definitely some intriguing ones especially with engineering and its popularity along with the potential job opportunity growth. It requires a select skill set for sure but if you possess that, then the potential is there.

SMART Grant Eligibility   

The SMART Grant is intended for those in their 3rd or 4th year of their undergraduate studies. I can see where this can be off people’s maps due to the fact that it’s not applicable until year 3. However and again, this is why we need to plan your path our methodically!

Recipients must already be Pell Grant recipients. Students must also be able to demonstrate high need to qualify for grant fund past the Pell award.  

You’ll also need to be enrolled in courses that are related to your degree and keep a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0.

How to Apply for SMART Grants  

The application for the SMART Grants is super simple. Really is it! All one needs to do is only complete and submit the FAFSA form. This can be completed online or by mail. You are then automatically considered for the grant based on the degree information you listed on the FAFSA. Statistics show that only 40% of those that qualify for the Pell Grant will also qualify for the SMART Grant. The reason for that discrepancy resides in the fact that the prerequisites for the grant are stiff!

How Much Can you Get?

Eligible students for the SMART Grant can get up to $4,000 for each year. Now the following is one of those situations where you need to pay close attention to. I’ve been a few situations where this was discussed with the student but it was something they didn’t grasp (or pay attention to) and then were surprised by the following.

The amount of the SMART Grant when it is combined with a Pell Grant, my not go over your designated cost of attendance. Cost of attendance is the total amount of money required to put an individual through a four-year college or university. It factors in tuition, room and board, books, and other miscellaneous fees. It’s typically set by the school.

SMART Grant Degree Requirements Review

Quick review for the paths you need to take to be eligible for the SMART Grant after the FAFSA application has been completed.

So remember you must pursue degrees in one of the following programs:

  • Computer Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • Technology
  • Engineering
  • Physical Sciences
  • Life Sciences
  • Non-Major Single Liberal Arts Program
  • Foreign Languages

What Else Do you need to know about SMART Grants?

Some fine print to be aware of with the SMART Grants. If eligible then you may be ineligible for the grant the following year if you are not enrolled in at least one course in the areas mentioned above. That doesn’t mean you need to major in that particular science field if your major happens to be in another science field that’s approved.

Tuition Drop Podcast

You can check out our Tuition Drop Podcast episode where we discuss the National SMART Grants below!

Tuition Drop Podcast – SMART Grants

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