NSTA Legislative Update
May 8, 2006

Update from the federal agencies:

The Department of Education has provided eligibility requirements for the two new grant programs created by Congress earlier this year: Academic Competitiveness Grants (for freshmen and sophomores) and Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (SMART) Grants (for juniors and seniors). These supplemental grants will be available to Pell-eligible college students who seek to major in physical, life, or computer science; mathematics; technology; engineering; or “foreign languages that are critical to national security." In the first year of study, students can receive up to $750 in assistance, which is in addition to funds they can also receive under the Pell program. In the second year, students can receive up to $1,300, and in their third and fourth years of college, they can receive up to $4,000 in assistance. For more information, visit http://ifap.ed.gov/dpcletters/GEN0604.html.

Also this month, in a letter to public school districts and private school associations, the Department provided information on the new loan forgiveness programs for qualified secondary school math and science teachers, also passed earlier this year by Congress. The new law authorizes up to $17,500 in forgiveness for these teachers. For eligibility requirements, visit http://www.ed.gov/policy/highered/guid/secletter/060301a.html and http://www.ed.gov/policy/highered/guid/secletter/060301b.html.

And finally, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a $1.8 million grant to The College Board to redesign Advanced Placement Program (AP) courses in biology, chemistry, physics, and environmental science. The funds will be used to develop a process for making ongoing changes in the courses and exams to incorporate the latest science developments and leverage best practices in science teaching. For more information, go to http://www.nsf.gov or http://www.collegeboard.com.

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