Department of Education: Student Assistance General Provisions; Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program; Federal Pell Grant Program; Academic Competitiveness Grant Program and National Science and Mathematics Access To Retain Talent Grant Program
GAO-09-756R: Jun 4, 2009
GAO reviewed the Department of Education's (DOE) new rule on Student Assistance General Provisions; Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program; Federal Pell Grant Program; Academic Competitiveness Grant Program and National Science and Mathematics Access To Retain Talent Grant Program. GAO found that (1) the final rule amends the regulations for the Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG) and National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (National SMART Grant) programs. The interim final rule makes ACGs and National SMART Grants available to eligible non-citizens and students enrolled at least half-time and provides that maximum awards for part-time students be proportionally reduced consistent with the requirements in the Federal Pell Grant Program and that grant awards be based on a student's grade level rather than academic year. The interim final rule also authorizes the award of ACGs for students enrolled in a 1- or 2-year certificate program at a degree-granting institution and allows students who were once enrolled in an undergraduate program as part of a secondary school program of study to receive a first-year ACG if the student is otherwise eligible. The interim final rule implements three additional program options by which students can qualify for a National SMART Grant as created by the amendments to the Higher Education Act (HEA). Finally, the interim final rule makes changes to the method by which secondary school programs of study are determined to be rigorous, while maintaining rigorous programs previously recognized in regulations; and (2) DOE complied with applicable requirements in promulgating the rule.