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Two new federal grant programs to assist UTPA students
By Student Financial Services
956/381-2501
Posted: 11/02/2006
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The University of Texas-Pan American Student Financial Services Office is currently offering Pell Grant-eligible students two new federal grants – the Academic Competitiveness Grant (AC Grant) and the National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (SMART Grant) – during the 2006-2007 academic year.

Karla Sosa, assistant director of UTPA’s Student Financial Services, said the two new federal grant programs have an academic component in place to compliment the need-based aspect of grant awarding.

“With ACG and SMART Grants, we have two new tools to encourage our students to prepare themselves academically for success in higher education and the highly competitive workforce,” Sosa said.

The grants, established under the Higher Education Reconciliation Act of 2005, encourages students to take more challenging courses in high school – making success in college more likely – and to pursue college majors in high demand in the global economy, such as science, mathematics, technology, engineering and critical foreign languages according to the U.S. Department of Education.

To date, UTPA has been able to award more than a million dollars in AC Grant funds to over 1,300 students and more than $400,000 in SMART Grants to 112 students. During the 2006-2007 academic year, UTPA has awarded more than $92 million in financial aid to students.

Under the AC Grant, students may qualify for up to $750 their first academic year and $1,300 their second academic year if they meet the following criteria:

• Be a U.S. citizen;

• Be a Federal Pell Grant recipient;

• Be enrolled full time in a degree program;

• Be enrolled in the first or second academic year of a degree program in a two-year or four-year degree-granting institution;

• Have graduated under the Recommended or Distinguished Plan;

• If a first-year student, not have been previously enrolled in an undergraduate program; and

• If a second-year student, have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale).

Under the SMART Grant, students may qualify for up to $4,000 in their third and fourth years of undergraduate study if they meet the following criteria:

• Be a U.S. citizen;

• Be a Federal Pell Grant recipient;

• Be enrolled full time in a degree program;

• Be enrolled in a four-year degree-granting institution;

• Major in physical, life or computer science, engineering, mathematics, technology or critical foreign language (for a list of eligible majors visit http://ifap.ed.gov/dcpletters/attachments.GEN0606A.pdf); and

• Have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale).

UTPA’s recommended priority deadline to apply for financial aid for any upcoming fall semester is March 1.

For more information on the new federal grants or other financial aid information and deadlines, call 956/381-2501 or visit www.utpa.edu/finaid.

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