The resources you need to succeed!

Tools for Success

GEAR UP Iowa provides the resources you need to help you succeed.

  • Get Involved on Campus

    Extracurricular activities are a great way to meet people when you start college. Participating has been tied to higher GPAs, higher graduation rates and higher salaries after graduation. Here are some possible ways to get involved.

  • Making the Adjustment to College

    Everyone handles the transition from high school to college differently. But whether you’re a first-generation student or a legacy, traveling to another state or living at home, you’ll need to take on more responsibility and be more independent than in high school.

  • On-Campus Resources

    College life can be pressure-filled, especially for freshman who are tackling all kinds of new responsibilities for the first time. But remember that you’re surrounded by people who want to help you succeed. Explore these resources on campus.

  • Tips for Transfer Students

    Sometimes your first college choice isn’t the right fit. You might start your education at a two-year college with intentions to continue at a four-year school. Or maybe your college unexpectedly closes. Whatever your reason, take these steps for a smooth transfer.

  • Summer After High School

    Congratulations, you’re a high school graduate! Even if you’ve already been admitted to college and accepted your financial aid package, you still need to complete some additional steps before you’re officially a college student:

  • College Application Fees and Waiver Opportunities

    Colleges and universities may charge application fees and deposits throughout the admissions process. We've provided a list of application, enrollment, and housing fees at several colleges in Iowa along with waiver opportunities available to GEAR UP Iowa students.

  • College Greenlight

    College Greenlight helps students explore colleges and find the perfect fit. It also connects first-generation and underrepresented students with scholarships and personalized advice.

  • College Savings Iowa

    College Savings Iowa is Iowa’s state-administered 529 plan. It allows parents, grandparents, relatives and friends to contribute toward the education expenses of young people regardless of income or state of residence. This plan is among the most highly regarded 529 plans in the country and an account can be opened for as little as $25.


    RaiseMe enables students to earn scholarships throughout high school, starting as early as 9th grade, for doing things that best prepare them to succeed, whether that's getting good grades, volunteering in the community or joining an extracurricular. RaiseMe also has profiles on most colleges along with a unique search feature. Be sure to connect to GEAR UP Iowa once you create an account!

  • Publications

    Publications to assist with preparing for college are available at no cost through Iowa College Aid, including:

    • Your Course to College (comprehensive college planning guide, available in English and Spanish, 70 pages)
    • Planning for Our Future (college savings and investment strategies, 16 pages)
    • Financial Aid: How to Apply (brochure)
    • Scholarships and Grants (brochure)
    • Student Loans (brochure)
  • ICAN

    The Iowa College Access Network offers information to assist with college and career planning, including such topics as:

    • Freshman Transition
    • High School Success
    • Career Planning
    • College Planning
    • College Success
    • Financial Aid
    • Financial Literacy
  • Federal Student Aid

    The Federal Student Aid office, a part of the U.S. Department of Education, provides grants, loans and work study funds for college or career school. In addition, it provides useful resources and information about getting ready for college, career and school exploration, types of financial aid and the application process. The website also provides checklists from elementary school thorough high school with suggested steps to prepare students academically and financially for college or career school.

  • FAFSA4caster

    Estimate how much money you will get on federal financial aid with this online tool.

  • Big Future by the College Board

    A planning tool to help students and families create a personalized college plan, find colleges, explore careers and related majors and learn about financial aid.