National SMART Grant: For Science and Math Students

Attention, college juniors majoring in science or math: The National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant is for you.

Edited By Christa Fletcher | April 17, 2014

Students can receive up to $4,000 in college money for each year of their college education.
Photo: Thinkstock

All students interested in pursuing a college degree should use various federal aid programs to help finance their college budget. However, many students don't realize they can receive financial aid in the form of grants based on financial need or their academic interests. In some cases, the government will also encourage students to continue their studies by offering education grants in specific fields. The National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (National SMART Grant) is one of these opportunities.

If you’re a college student who has chosen a major in these fields and don’t have the necessary college money, read on to see if you qualify for the National SMART Grant. As a need-based federal aid grant, it doesn’t need to be repaid and can aid in paying for college tuition and other costs.

The National SMART Grant was created in 2005 to encourage students to complete their studies in the sciences.

What is the National SMART Grant?

The National SMART Grant was created in 2005 to encourage students to complete their studies in majors such as physical science, life science or computer science, math, technology, engineering or a foreign language deemed critical by the federal government. You’ll find a complete list of eligible majors on the Federal Student Aid website.

Students can receive up to $4,000 in college money for each year of their college education. However, the amount of college aid they receive for the SMART Grant can’t exceed their cost of attendance when it’s combined with the amount of their Pell Grant.

Who Receives the National SMART Grant?

To receive the National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant, students must be in their third and fourth years of their undergraduate studies. Or, if they’re completing a five-year program, they must be in their fifth year. Students must be enrolled at least half-time and be eligible for the Federal Pell Grant.

Students must also be enrolled in the courses necessary for completing their degree programs and maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 in the coursework for their major. Additionally, students must be U.S. citizens.

Designed to help U.S. students compete in a global economy, this federal aid is awarded to students based on the information provided through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. The colleges and universities you apply to will look at your FAFSA, GPA, eligibility for the Pell grant and the college program you play to study to determine whether you qualify for the National SMART Grant.

National SMART Grant Tips & Tactics

  • Have more questions about the National SMART Grant or other education grants? Ask the financial aid staff at your college or university.
  • You’ll receive your grant money at least once per term or academic year. The money for college will be credited to your school account, paid directly to you, delivered in a combination of those methods or credited to your bank account. To ensure that you can pay your tuition and other school costs, find out when you will be paid and create a budget to keep yourself on track with your school payments.
  • Plan your courses wisely: You’re only eligible for the National SMART Grant during semesters in which you’re taking courses toward your major. If you’re just taking courses that fulfill general degree requirements but not specifically courses toward your major, you will not be eligible. Talk to your financial aid office and your college advisor to help you schedule your courses.

People Who Read This Article Also Read:

Federal Pell Grant Basics
Pell Grant Eligibility
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG): The Basics
National SMART Grant: For Science and Math Students

See All College Scholarships and Grants for Education Articles

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