"These grants are one more way to help students and families across
Illinois afford the high costs of college tuition," Blagojevich
said. "I urge every student to look at the
website and check their availability as soon as possible."
grants provide further incentive for students to take more
challenging courses in high school and to pursue college majors in
high-demand areas, such as science, math, technology, engineering
and critical foreign languages. The U.S. Department of Education
estimates that approximately 500,000 students will qualify to
receive these grants.
The Academic Competitiveness Grant provides college students who
completed a rigorous course of study in high school with additional
funds of up to $750 during their freshman year and up to $1,300
during their sophomore year. This is in addition to Pell Grant funds
students are already receiving. College juniors and seniors who are
eligible for the Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent
Grant, known as the SMART Grant, automatically will receive up to
$4,000 in additional aid next year.
To receive an Academic Competitiveness Grant, rising college
freshmen and sophomores must be Pell Grant-eligible and have
completed a program of rigorous high school course work as defined
by their state and recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
To receive a SMART Grant, third- and fourth-year Pell Grant-eligible
students must meet the requirements; major in designated science,
technology, math or critical foreign languages; and maintain a 3.0
The options for eligibility for the Academic Competitiveness
Grant for the 2006-07 school year for a student from Illinois are:
This program of
study requires passing grades in the following:
Four years of
Three years of
math, including Algebra I and a higher level course such as
Algebra II, geometry, or data analysis and statistics.
Three years of
science, including at least two courses from biology, chemistry
Three years of
One year of a
[to top of second column]
program requires a minimum of two advanced placement or
international baccalaureate courses in high school and a minimum
passing score on the exams for those classes. Students must
score three or higher on advanced placement exams and four or
higher on international baccalaureate exams.
or international baccalaureate courses and test scores.
Students can receive more information on eligibility and
applications for both of these grant programs online at
http://federalstudentaid.ed.gov/ or by calling 1 (800) 4FEDAID
[or 1 (800) 433-3243. For a fact sheet on the grants,
[To download Adobe Acrobat Reader for the PDF
file, click here.]
In 2005, the governor's Higher Standards, Better Schools plan
increased Illinois' high school graduation requirements to help
graduates better prepare for higher education and the work force.
Blagojevich fought for increased education funding to support his
Higher Standards, Better Schools plan to support dual credit and
dual enrollment classes, advanced placement courses, career
preparation programs, and added arts and foreign language classes.
In fiscal 2007, Blagojevich provided the Monetary Award Program
with its largest increase in 10 years, a boost of 10 percent over
fiscal 2006, and created a new program to help middle-income
families as well. With a new investment of $34.4 million, he created
MAP Plus to help middle-class families who didn't receive the
traditional MAP grants and who struggle to afford rising college
tuition costs. MAP Plus will provide a grant of $500 per student for
sophomores, juniors and seniors from families with incomes less than
$200,000 who attend college in Illinois. An additional increase of
$34.4 million was added to the original MAP grants to increase the
grant awards to their statutory maximum of up to $4,968. In total,
225,000 students will benefit from the creation of MAP Plus and the
additional funding for MAP.
Senate Bill 2225 was sponsored by Sen. Edward Maloney,
D-Chicago, and Rep. Kevin McCarthy, D-Orland Park.
[News release from the governor's office]