• Report

Academic competitiveness and national SMART grant programs 2006-07 through 2008-09


Choy, S., Berkner, L., Lee, J., & Topper, A. (2011). Academic competitiveness and national SMART grant programs 2006-07 through 2008-09. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development.


Purpose of This Study
MPR Associates, Inc., and JBL Associates are assisting the Department in evaluating the outcomes of the ACG and National SMART Grant programs. Of interest is whether or not the financial incentives provided by the ACG will induce more economically disadvantaged high school students to complete a rigorous high school program and enroll and succeed in postsecondary education. And, will the National SMART Grants motivate more students to major and receive degrees in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and critical languages? Answers to these questions require longitudinal data, sufficient time for students to adjust their behavior in response to the grant incentives, and multivariate analytic techniques that might help to separate out the effects of the grant programs from other factors influencing which students seek to benefit from the grants. Our efforts to examine the impacts of the program will be reported in the final report of this study. The analysis presented in this report provides only descriptive information on program participation during its first four years.
This report uses data from the Common Origination and Disbursement (COD)-Central Processing System (CPS) Interface Grant Recipient File maintained by the Office of Federal Student Aid to document participation in the first three ACG and National SMART Grant award years (2006–07, 2007–08, and 2008–09). Earlier reports described participation in the first two years, documented the legislative and regulatory history of the programs, and reported on initial stakeholder concerns and how they were addressed (Choy et al. 2009 and 2010).

Specific questions addressed in this report include the following:
- What percentages of students with a Pell Grant also received an ACG or National SMART Grant, and are these percentages increasing over time?
- What percentages of students who obtained ACGs and National SMART Grants in 2006– 07 and 2007–08 received awards again in the following year?
- Is there any evidence to suggest that students who received ACGs or National SMART Grants are more likely to persist in college than students who received only Pell Grant awards?