I write to share good news with you about a new student aid initiative that represents a dramatic step toward promoting math and science education and ensuring America’s economic competitiveness in the future.
We know that China and India are generating scientists and engineers at a furious pace while America lags dangerously behind. Study after study calls for the government to act to address this problem. Passage of this program represents real action.
The new student aid program I created is called a SMART Grant. SMART Grants will provide $4000 per year to Pell Grant-eligible students who maintain a 3.0 GPA and major in math, science, engineering, technology, or foreign languages critical to national security during their third and fourth years of college. That means a Pell Grant-eligible student will obtain up to $8000 in additional assistance toward the cost of college if he or she chooses to major in those fields. These funds will incentivize more students to major in these time-intensive studies and help America produce the workforce it needs to compete in today’s global economy.
The bill also provides Academic Competitiveness Grants to first and second year students. $750 will go to first year students who complete a rigorous high school curriculum, and $1300 will go to second year students who complete a rigorous high school curriculum and maintain a 3.0 GPA in college. President Bush and Chairman Boehner (R-OH) deserve praise and credit for their leadership on these grants.
I have attached a chart that summarizes the tremendous college savings students can achieve through the SMART and Academic Competitiveness programs. SMART Grant recipients will save up to 75% on their college education!
The SMART and Academic Competitiveness Grants are authorized at $3.75 billion over five years and are paid for with program savings included in the budget deficit reduction bill approved by the Senate this morning.
These grants will help sustain America’s global legacy as a land of innovation, imagination, and initiative. I invite you to spread the word – please tell students, teachers, parents, and community leaders about SMART and the difference these grants will make to America’s students and the country as a whole.
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