SMBFutures has just created a futuresdesk (you can find the details at SMBFutures on their dot com website) and they are letting ANYBODY apply to be a funded trader on their desk. They are not looking for students to train here...they are looking for people with a strategy that can pass their risk parameters (1k daily stop and 3k total stop - 5k profit target). But you don't need "pedigree" or to goto a top college...all you need is a strategy and the ability to execute it. You do NOT need to take their eduction courses (in fact, this has zero bearing on the tryout...unless you need the course because you don't already know how to trade)
So, who is thinking of applying, and what kind of trading strategy are you planning on using?
To avoid people flipping coins, they are requiring applicants to pay for the costs ($325/month). Live future data costs $95/month from the CME. The good trading and charting software, like CQG, MarketDelta, Ninja, InvestorRT etc.., costs $$
SMB is not doing a charity here, but they are also not making a profit on the tryout. They are just saying, if you have a strategy that works (lets say you are a poor student who came up with a strategy in your basement) but you don't have the 20k money to fund your own futures account, SMB will let you tryout for their futures desk...yes you have to pay the external costs ($325/month), which you would have to pay anyway if your were trading on your own. I believe this is different from their equities desk (but they already have 50 equities traders, so they don't need more).
$325 is not a lot of money if you have a good idea. And if you don't have a good idea, then you should not be trading, and they don't want to waste money, paying for anybody and everybody to take a shot who have no business trading, so they avoid wasting money on the software and market data fees for people who are not serious.