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ERIC Number: ED504721
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Mar
Pages: 45
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Federal Student Aid: Recent Changes to Eligibility Requirements and Additional Efforts to Promote Awareness Could Increase Academic Competitiveness and SMART Grant Participation. Report to Congressional Requesters. GAO-09-343
US Government Accountability Office
The Academic Competitiveness (AC) and National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (SMART) Grants were established by the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. The grants provide merit-based financial aid to certain low-income college students eligible for Federal Pell Grants and are administered by the Department of Education (Education). In the first year of implementation, participation was lower than expected. GAO was asked to determine (1) factors affecting AC and SMART Grant student participation; (2) challenges colleges face in administering the grant programs; and (3) the extent to which Education has assisted states and colleges with implementation. To address these objectives, GAO analyzed data on AC, SMART, and Pell Grants, and interviewed officials from Education and 12 state education agencies, administrators from 42 selected colleges, and several national associations. GAO recommends that Education: (1) develop a strategy to increase awareness of these grant programs among states and high schools; and (2) use existing forums to facilitate the sharing of effective practices among states and colleges to help mitigate some of the administrative challenges of verifying the grants' requirements. Education has concurred with these recommendations. Five appendixes are included: (1) Objectives, Scope, and Methodology; (2) Colleges Interviewed in Selected States; (3) State Education Agencies Interviewed in Selected States; (4) Comments from the Department of Education; and (5) GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments. (Contains 5 figures, 4 tables, and 21 footnotes.)
US Government Accountability Office. 441 G Street NW, Washington, DC 20548. Tel: 202-512-6000; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: High Schools; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: US Government Accountability Office
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Pell Grant Program