Maintained for Historical Purposes

This resource is being maintained for historical purposes only and is not currently applicable.

Summary: Updated ACG Recognized Rigorous Secondary School Programs of Study for 2007 Graduates and Updated/Expanded Resource Guide

Publication Date: September 24, 2007

Author: William Leith, Acting General Manager, Application, Operations and Delivery Services, Federal Student Aid

Summary: Updated ACG Recognized Rigorous Secondary School Programs of Study for 2007 Graduates and Updated/Expanded Resource Guide

Posted on 09-24-2007

As schools are aware, one of the components of a student's eligibility for an Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG) award is the completion of a rigorous secondary school program of study. As set forth in 34 CFR 691.16, the options for meeting the rigorous secondary school program of study requirement are as follows:

  • Set of Courses Similar to the State Scholars Initiative
  • Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate Courses and Test Scores
  • State-Specific Programs

    o Advanced or Honors Diploma

    o State Scholars Initiative Requirements

    o State Recognized Plan

    The Advanced or Honors Diploma, State Scholars Initiative Requirements, and State Recognized Plan options are state-specific programs and will vary depending on the state.

Updated ACG Recognized Rigorous Secondary School Programs of Study for 2007 Graduates

Recently, we discovered that six state recognized plans approved by the Secretary of Education for 2007 high school graduates in January 2007 were not programmed in our Central Processing System (CPS) and in our Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) System. The previously missing plans are for Kentucky, Missouri, New Hampshire, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wyoming. Both systems have now been modified to include these plans.

The addition of these programs will have the following impact on students and schools:

  • 2007 high school graduates who self-identify as being ACG-eligible through FAFSA on the Web will be able to choose these state programs from the list of valid values.
  • Schools that submit ACG awards to the COD System will be able to include these state programs as valid values.

    Note: The COD Technical References will be updated to reflect the additional states as well.

Updated and Expanded Resource Guide

At this time, we are also updating and expanding the "Quick Reference to the ACG Recognized State Rigorous Secondary School Programs of Study," which has been available for schools since July 2006. Specifically, there are now two versions of this operational resource guide-one for 2005 and 2006 high school graduates and the other for 2007 high school graduates.

Schools can use each version of the operational resource guide as a quick reference to the recognized rigorous secondary school programs of study for each state for the applicable high school graduation year. Both versions of the guide are attached to this announcement and combine recognized state rigorous secondary school programs of study for all states and applicable system codes into one document.

Each resource is a comprehensive table in Excel format. The table includes a summary of the recognized rigorous secondary school programs of study for each state identified on the Department of Education's (the Department's) Web page. When accessed electronically, each state name in the table links to that state's information posted on the Department's applicable Web page.

Having comprehensive information for all states in summary table format should be particularly helpful to schools that enroll students from multiple states.

In addition to summarizing each state's recognized rigorous secondary school programs of study, each comprehensive table identifies applicable Student Aid Report (SAR) comment codes and COD Extensible Markup Language (XML) Common Record valid values.

SAR Comment Codes

After a participating student responds to the rigorous secondary school program of study questions through the self-identification process, we will notify a school of the student's responses to the questions through SAR comment codes on an Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR), 268-271 (ISIR positions 1677 to 1736), and in an ACG Data file sent to the school via the Student Aid Internet Gateway (SAIG).

In each comprehensive table, we include the SAR comment code that applies to each type of recognized rigorous secondary school program of study. The applicable code appears under the heading for each type of recognized program of study. The types of recognized programs of study and the applicable SAR comment codes are as follows:

  • SAR Code 270 - Set of Courses Similar to the State Scholars Initiative
  • SAR Code 269 - Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate
  • SAR Code 268 - Advanced or Honors Diploma
  • SAR Code 268 - State Scholars Initiative Requirements
  • SAR Code 268 - State Recognized Plan

COD XML Common Record Valid Values

A school sends origination and disbursement information about ACG awards using the COD XML Common Record Academic Competitiveness Grant Block or by submitting individual records to the COD System via the COD Web site. The Academic Competitiveness Grant Block will include basic award data, an element for Eligibility/Payment Reason Code in all cases, and an element for Rigorous High School Program Code in the case of a state-specific program.

Eligibility/Payment Reason Code

In each comprehensive table, we include the two-digit, numeric Eligibility/Payment Reason Code that applies to each type of recognized rigorous secondary school program of study. The applicable code appears under the heading for each type of recognized program of study. The types of recognized programs of study and the applicable Eligibility/Payment Reason Codes are as follows:

  • Eligibility/Payment Reason Code 03 - Set of Courses Similar to the State Scholars Initiative
  • Eligibility/Payment Reason Code 02 - Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate
  • Eligibility/Payment Reason Code 01 - Advanced or Honors Diploma
  • Eligibility/Payment Reason Code 01 - State Scholars Initiative Requirements
  • Eligibility/Payment Reason Code 01 - State Recognized Plan

Note: Eligibility/Payment Reason Code 01 applies to all three state-specific programs.

Rigorous High School Program Code

In each comprehensive table, we include the six-digit, alphanumeric Rigorous High School Program Code assigned to each state-specific recognized rigorous secondary school program of study. The state-specific programs are as follows:

  • Advanced or Honors Diploma
  • State Scholars Initiative Requirements
  • State Recognized Plan

The applicable Rigorous High School Program Code appears in the cell of each listing of the above state-specific programs.

Contact Information

If you have questions about the ACG self-identification process via FAFSA on the Web, contact the FSAIC at 800/4-FED-AID or 800/433-3243 (TDD/TTY 800/730-8913).

If you have questions about the processing of ACG awards by the COD System or the operational resource guide, contact the COD School Relations Center at 800/4PGRANT (800/474-7268) for ACG, National SMART Grant, and Pell Grant. You may also e-mail CODSupport@acs-inc.com.

Last Modified: 09/23/2007