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Secretary Spellings announces July 1 availability of $790 million in new grants for higher education.

On June 21, 2006, U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings and Governor Tim Pawlenty held a press conference to discuss the availability of Academic Competitiveness Grants and the National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (SMART) Grants. Secretary Spellings announced that starting July 1, the Department of Education's Federal Student Aid office will notify Pell Grant-eligible students of their potential eligibility through email or regular mail, and students can start applying for up to $1300 in new Academic Competitiveness grants. Third and fourth year Pell Grant-eligible students who meet requirements, and major in certain designated science, technology, math, and foreign languages, will automatically receive the National SMART Grant during the 2006-07 school year.

"Math, science, and foreign language skills are the new currency in our global economy. In developing these grants, we realized just how badly our country needs students to have these skills," said Secretary Spellings. As our world grows more competitive, America must run faster and break new ground, just as we always have. President Bush's American Competitiveness Initiative is an administration-wide plan to strengthen our ability to compete."

Academic Competitiveness Grants will provide additional aid to first- and second-year college students who complete rigorous high school coursework, are enrolled fulltime, and maintain a 3.0 GPA in college (up to an additional $750 for first-year students and up to an additional $1,300 for second-year students). National SMART Grants will provide up to an additional $4,000 to third- and fourth-year Pell Grant-eligible college students who have maintained a 3.0 GPA, are enrolled fulltime, and who major in math, science, or critical foreign languages. Nationwide, 1.9 million students are potentially eligible for these grants.

These grants continue President Bush's historic levels of support for college students. Together, Academic Competitiveness and National SMART Grants will provide $790 million in the 2006-07 academic year and $4.5 billion over the next 5 years. These grants will encourage students to take more challenging courses in high school, and to pursue college majors in high demand in the global economy, such as science, mathematics, technology, engineering, and critical foreign languages.

Governor Pawlenty, as Chair of the National Governors Association (NGA) Education Committee, has helped to put competitiveness at the top of America's national agenda. The NGA is taking a lead role in making all Pell Grant-eligible students aware of these new grants, and how to obtain them.

For more information on Academic Competitiveness Grants and National SMART Grants, please visit:
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Title Annotation:Margaret Spellings
Publication:OVAE Review
Geographic Code:1U4MN
Date:Jun 22, 2006
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