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Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG)

The Academic Competitiveness Grant was made available for the first time for the 2006-2007 school year for first-year college students who graduated from high school after January 1, 2006, and for second-year college students who graduated from high school after January 1, 2005.

How Much Can a Student Receive?

An Academic Competitiveness Grant provides $750 for the first year of study and $1,300 for the second year. Note: The amount of the ACG, when combined with a Pell Grant, may not exceed the student's cost of attendance. In addition, if the number of eligible students is large enough that payment of the full grant amounts would exceed the program appropriation in any fiscal year, then the amount of the grant to each eligible student may be ratably reduced.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for each academic year, a student must:

  • 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 his or her program of study at a two-year or four-year degree-granting institution;
  • Have completed a rigorous secondary school program of study (after January 1, 2006, if a first-year student, and after January 1, 2005, if a second-year student);
  • If a first-year student, not have been previously enrolled in an undergraduate program; and
  • If a second-year student, have at least a cumulative 3.0 grade point average (GPA) on a 4.0 scale for the first academic year.

Note - Additional eligibility requirements go into effect July 1, 2009. See the 2009-10 Funding Education Beyond High School – The Guide to Federal Student Aid for a complete requirements listing.

Recognized rigorous secondary school programs of study

For qualifying for an ACG, any one of the following programs meet the "rigorous secondary school program of study" requirement:

  1. Rigorous secondary school programs designated by state education agencies (SEAs) and state-authorized local education agencies (LEAs) and recognized by the Secretary of Education.
  2. Advanced or honors secondary school programs established by states.
  3. Secondary school programs identified by a state-level partnership recognized by the State Scholars Initiative of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) of Boulder, Colorado.
  4. A program for a student who completes at least two courses in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program with a score of four or higher on the course examinations or at least two Advanced Placement (AP) courses with a score of three or higher on the College Board's exams for those courses.
  5. A secondary school program in which a student completes, at minimum:
    • Four years of English;
    • Three years of math, including algebra I and a higher level class such as algebra II, geometry, or data analysis and statistics;
    • Three years of science, including one year each of at least two of the following courses: biology, chemistry, and physics;
    • Three years of social studies; and
    • One year of a language other than English.

For each calendar year, the Secretary publishes a list of all rigorous secondary school programs of study. Click here for the list of rigorous secondary school programs for each year of graduation.

Last updated/reviewed February 9, 2009

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