How to Apply for SMART Grant

August 15, 2012

The U.S. Department of Education has seen a great need for teachers across America. For that reason, the SMART or Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant was born. The grant is offered to students who qualify in their third or fourth year of undergraduate studies. SMART grants give a maximum of $4,000 in financial aid per year. However, students need to be eligible for Pell Grants in order to receive a SMART Grant, in addition to other requirements. It's fairly simple to apply for this grant but you need to understand the contract that you sign when you accept the grant.

Getting Started

Every SMART grant application must start by filling out a FAFSA or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, that you can find at fafsa.ed.gov. The form determines your eligibility for SMART as well as Pell Grant. The application also will ask for financial information for the student and parents, and you have to also answer questions about your plans to teach. Once you submit your application, you need to show proof that you are in your third or fourth year and that you are studying to become a teacher.

Pick the Right Major

You have to be in a specific major in order to qualify for the SMART grant. You need to major in science, math, engineering, technology, some foreign languages which are deemed critical or a qualifying liberal arts program. You should check with your school to see if your program will qualify for SMART grant and if you can transfer into a program that will allow you to qualify if not.

Getting the Grades

In addition, you need to maintain a grade point average at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Your grade point average affects your eligibility considerably for the SMART grant, so you should constantly be checking that your GPA is high, particularly after your sophomore year when you can qualify for the grant. The government will check your transcripts for eligibility.

Other Considerations

You need to be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen to apply. You also have to be eligible for the Pell Grant within the same school year. If you're enrolled in school, you need to be enrolled at least half-time, otherwise you won't qualify to receive the SMAT grant. If you are in a five year program, you need to be in the fifth year in order to qualify.

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Whether you’re on your way to school for the first time or thinking about finishing up a degree you should explore your options when it comes to obtaining Grants for School.

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