As of July 1, 2011 the Academic Competitiveness Grant has been terminated and is no longer available as of the 2011-2012 Award Year due to government budget cuts1.

Poverty gets in the way of many dreams. For single mothers, quality education is impossible because of the relative costs to finish a degree. As a result, many are forced to discontinue their education and drop out of school.

In answer to the need for increased literacy rate, the federal government created a support program for education. Known as the Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG), the program is geared at giving poor but deserving students access to quality post secondary education.

Who are qualified and what are the standards set for eligibility? Like many other programs, there are a set of criteria that the federal government puts in place to specifically target those in need. Although there is a considerable grant amount at stake, the requirements are not as stringent as they are perceived to be.

Eligibility Requirements

In order to fit the eligibility criteria, the applicant must be:

  1. A Federal Pell Grant Recipient. This grant is offered to undergraduate students from the low-income level. There are also several post baccalaureate students who make the cut. Primarily, the grant promotes access to quality post secondary education. Recipients are given the opportunity to take up any course from among the 5,400 academic institutions offering postsecondary education.
  2. An Incoming First or Second Year Student. The ACG program is applicable to undergraduate students on their first or second year of study. However, students taking up certificate programs can also qualify as long as they are within the year level specified under the grant.

Other criteria include being a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen; and enrollment in a degree program (at least half time). Single mothers are also required to complete a rigorous program in a secondary school.2

The grant amount is more than enough to defray the cost of post-secondary education. First year student grantees stand to receive an average of $750. For second year students, the amount goes up to $1,300.

Pell Grant awardees, however, are only entitled to receive an ACG amount equivalent to the remaining cost of attendance outside this program. This means that the total grant amount must not exceed the total cost of education.

Under the ACG, single mothers who wish to continue their education are given the chance to fulfill their dreams. With a solid education under their wings, they are able to get more gainful employment and become productive citizens of the American society.

For detailed information about the Academic Competitiveness Grant, please visit this link online:


  1. Source: IFAP []
  2. For each calendar year, the Secretary of Education publishes a list of all rigorous secondary school programs of study. Click here for the list of rigorous secondary school programs for each year of graduation. []