GEAR UP Scholarship FAQs

Applying for the Scholarship

How do I apply?

Fill out the FAFSA.

While the FAFSA is used to determine financial need, the scholarship is not need based. Regardless of your family’s financial need if you are a part of the GEAR UP cohort, you will be matched with the scholarships.

How do I know if I am in the cohort?

Students who were in one of our GEAR UP schools in their 7th or 9th grade year are part of our cohort. If you are unsure if you are a part of the cohort you can reach out with the student’s name and birthdate and we can confirm whether they are a part of the cohort.

Do I have to fill out the FAFSA?

Yes, there is no other way to get the scholarship.

How much is the scholarship?

For the 2019-2020 academic year, the scholarship is $600 for the fall semester for full-time students and $600 for the spring semester for full-time students. Students enrolled less than full-time can receive a reduced amount. In no circumstance can your scholarship exceed your institution’s cost of attendance.

What if my high school G.P.A. is bad?

We don’t consider high school G.P.A. when awarding the Karen Misjak GEAR UP Iowa Scholarship.

Can I use the scholarship for a master’s degree/graduate school?

No, the Karen Misjak GEAR UP Iowa Scholarship is only for undergraduate studies

How many years can a student receive the scholarship?

The Karen Misjak GEAR UP Iowa Scholarship can be renewed in subsequent years to fund undergraduate enrollment as long as:

  • funding allows
  • the student is meeting their college/university Satisfactory Academic Progress policies
  • the student completes a FAFSA annually

Enrolling in College

How do I make sure my college knows about my scholarship?

Every school you list on the FAFSA will be notified of your scholarships. If you apply to/enroll in a college you didn’t list you can go back in and add the new school.

What if my scholarship isn’t showing up in my award letter?

Every college has a different scholarship process. If it is not showing up on your award letter or in your financial aid portal follow these steps:

  1. email your financial aid officer to confirm that they have received your designation letter (it would have been emailed)
  2. check your FAFSA and make sure the school was listed.
  3. If you have a copy of your designation letter you can forward it to the financial aid office.
  4. If you don’t have a copy of your designation letter (it would have been emailed to the email on you FAFSA), reach out to us. 
    • we will coordinate with the school to ensure they have the needed documentation

What does it mean that I have been flagged for verification?

It means they need more documentation. You can work with your school’s financial aid office to go through the process or request assistance through Iowa College Aid virtual coaching.

What if I don’t enroll right away?

If you don’t enroll right away you may still qualify for the scholarship so long as:

  • funding allows
  • the student is meeting their college/university Satisfactory Academic Progress policies
  • the student completes a FAFSA annually

Can I go to a college outside of Iowa?

Yes. As long as the college is an eligible college, you can receive a GEAR UP Iowa Scholarship.

What is a Title IV eligible Undergraduate program?

A Title IV undergraduate program is one that is eligible to receive Federal Student Aid funds. You should contact the college's financial aid office and speak with a financial aid advisor to determine if the program you plan to enroll in is a Title IV program.

What is a Title IV College/University?

A Title IV college/university is one that participates in Federal Student Aid programs. You can search for Title IV institutions on the Federal Student Aid website by entering information about the college (state, city, and/or name). If your college appears in the Search Results, then it’s a Title IV college and you can receive Karen Misjak GEAR UP Iowa Scholarship funds while you’re enrolled.

What happens if I transfer schools at semester?

You need to contact our office at 1-877-272-4456, select option 3, and give us the name of the college where you will attend.

Receiving the Scholarship

How does the scholarship get to the school?

Once the semester starts our office seeks enrollment verification, making sure the student is enrolled at the school. Once we have the enrollment verification, the scholarship funds are sent.

Can I get the scholarship as a check?

No. The funds go directly to the school.

If there is “leftover” can I get the leftover as a check?

No. If the student doesn’t use the full amount because they have the rest covered through other scholarships the “leftover” will go back to the scholarship fund.

When will the funds arrive at my school?

It depends on when the school gets us the enrollment verification. It normally happens in the fall.

How much is the scholarship?

For the 2019-2020 academic year, the scholarship is $600 for the fall semester for full-time students and $600 for the spring semester for full-time students. Students enrolled less than full-time can receive a reduced amount. In no circumstance can your scholarship exceed your institution’s cost of attendance.

What happens if I transfer schools at semester?

You need to contact our office at 1-877-272-4456, select option 3, and give us the name of the college where you will attend.

What if I am not full time?

If you are not enrolled full time you will still get a portion of the scholarship in based on your enrollment level, see the table below.
Maximum Funding Based on Enrollment Level

Maximum Funding Based on Enrollment Level

Enrollment Level Credits Semester Quarter Summer
Full-time (F) 12+ $600 $400/400/400 $600
Three-quarter time (P) 9-11 $450 $300/300/300 $450
Half-time (H) 6-8 $300 $200/200/200 $300
Less-than-half-time (L) 3-5 $150 $100/100/100 $150

How will I know I am getting it?

Once the student has been matched to the scholarship the student will get an email stating they have been designated as a scholarship recipient. The email goes to the student’s email listed on the FAFSA.

What if I didn’t get an email?

Sometime the email goes to spam. First check your spam, if it is still not there reach out to us. We will work with you to get a copy. This is what the email looks like. Please note that this is an example and that the details may vary.