Frequently Asked Questions

Current Government Employees

I am a current employee of the DoD, will I be able to stay in my current job?

The DoD is interested in helping current government employees further their education and continue their careers as part of the DoD S&T workforce. For the most part, current DoD employees, if selected, will remain employed by their current organization as retention awardees. You will be required to submit contact information for your current employer and a letter from your supervisor acknowledging that he/she is aware you are applying for funding under the SMART Program.

There may be situations where a current DoD employee wants to leave the organization he/she is employed by and pursue work with another DoD service or agency. Retention applicants will be prompted to designate whether they intend to remain with their current employer or are seeking work elsewhere in the DoD.

*SMART will only fund technical degrees. Current government employees are welcome to apply to advance their degrees, however, the SMART Program will not fund any type of management degree. 

I am a federal employee not currently employed by the DoD, will I be able to stay in my current job?

No. The SMART Program requires participants accept full-time employment with the DoD after graduation.

If selected, will I get paid my full salary?

SMART stipend rates are established according to a fixed schedule that is consistent for all awardees within each cohort. Please see the Award Details FAQ page for details. For people currently employed by the DoD or other Federal agency, the stipend may be lower than their current salary.

Will my award be distributed through my current DoD employer?

Please see the Managers and Supervisors FAQ page for details. We encourage you to share this information with your current employer and we will be glad to work with your manager and/or supervisor in working through the details.