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Academic Competitiveness (AC) Grant

AC Grant - Also know as the Academic Competitiveness Grant is designed to encourage students to take more challenging courses in high school and increase the likeliness of being successful in college.  According to  a government sponsored research such students are more likely to pursue college majors in high demand in the global economy, such as science, mathematics, technology, engineering and critical foreign languages. In addition to the Pell Grant amount, up to $750 will be awarded to eligible first-year AC Grant students, and up to $1,300 to second-year AC Grant students.

How to apply for an AC Grant

Students interested in applying for an AC Grant must apply for financial aid by submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  The student should be eligible for a Federal Pell Grant in order to receive an AC Grant.  Students who have not yet submitted a FAFSA may do so online at;
Student also:

  • Must be a U.S. Citizen;
  • Must be enrolled in a two- or four-year degree program; and
  • Must be enrolled fulltime.

Additional Requirements:

  • Students must be in their first or second academic year of a two- or four-year degree program;
  • First-year students must have completed high school on or after January 1, 2006;
  • Second-year students must have completed high school on or after January 1, 2005;
  • All AC Grant students must have completed a rigorous high school program of study as designated by their state; and
  • For a second-year AC Grant, students must have a grade point average (GPA) from their first year of at least 3.0.

Eligibility for an AC Grant

  • The student completed one of his or her state's designated secondary school programs of study, as noted on the website; or
  • The student has taken and passed the tests for at least two Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses; or
  • The student has completed a high school course of study with at least— 
  1. Four years of high school English;
  2. Three years of high school math, including Algebra I and another higher level math course;
  3. Three years of high school science, which must include two years of biology, chemistry or physics;
  4. Three years of high school social studies; and
  5. One year of high school foreign language.

AC Grant Notification Process

The information provided by the student will be sent by FSA to the financial aid office at the student's college or university. While students will receive an on-screen confirmation of their submission, a grant is not confirmed until eligibility is verified by the institution of higher education. Note also that some colleges and universities may determine their student's eligibility without waiting for the information to be sent to them by FSA.