Administrator FAQ's

  1. How can the Illinois STEPS AHEAD (ISA) GEAR UP Scholarship funds be used?
  2. How much of the ISA GEAR UP Scholarship may be used for summer school?
  3. Where should school administrators send any unexpended ISA GEAR UP funds?
  4. What happens if a GEAR UP student drops out and/or drops out for one semester?
  5. Can a student use GEAR UP Scholarship funds to study abroad?
  6. How many years is a student eligible for the ISA GEAR UP Scholarship?
  7. Does a student have to maintain a certain grade point average (GPA) to continue to receive the ISA GEAR UP Scholarship?
  8. What are the other requirements to continue to receive the GEAR UP Scholarship?
  9. Is the GEAR UP Scholarship renewable?

 

1. How can the Illinois STEPS AHEAD (ISA) GEAR UP scholarship funds be used?

ISA GEAR UP scholarship funds may be used to cover all pertinent post-secondary education costs. If the tuition cost is met, ISA GEAR UP scholarships funds can be applied toward other costs of attendance, including room and board, text books, other supplies required by the institution, transportation and up to $300 toward the cost of leasing or purchasing a personal computer.

Students may opt to live off campus (apartment); in this case students should submit the apartment rental contract with their scholarship application. Consult with GEAR UP Program Coordinator for details.

Students may also use scholarship funds for purchasing a meal plan from your school, if the student lives off campus. The rule of thumb is to follow the allocation provided in the average cost of attendance.

Students who choose to commute to school are allowed to cover transportation cost as outlined in the cost of attendance.

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2. How much of the ISA GEAR UP Scholarship may be used for summer school?

If students have unexpended funds after all bills have been paid from the Fall and Spring semesters/quarters of the current school year, the unexpended ISA GEAR UP scholarship funds may be used to cover the cost of attending summer school. Additional funding is not made available specifically for summer school. Only remaining school year GEAR UP scholarship funds from the current school year can be used to cover this expense.

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3. Where should school administrators send any unexpended ISA GEAR UP funds?

Any unexpended ISA GEAR UP scholarship funds should be returned to the Illinois Department of Human Services:

Linda Bullard
Illinois Department of Human Services
Division of Family and Community Services
100 South Grand Avenue
Springfield, IL 62702

Please make the check payable to the Illinois Department of Human Services. Please mark the envelope as "Personal and Confidential".

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4. What happens if a GEAR UP student drops out and/or drops out for one semester?

Contact the GEAR UP Scholarship Program Administrator, Nicolle Mckinney, at 312-793-4639, to report this information. Students are required to attend consecutive semesters. Dropping out or not attending one semester may jeopardize the student’s GEAR UP scholarship unless there are extenuating circumstances

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5. Can a student use GEAR UP Scholarship funds to study abroad?

Yes. If a student plans to study abroad, the student may use their scholarship funds towards the institution’s average cost of attendance in the United States. All aspects of the program must be coordinated and managed by the school in the United States. The scholarship funds will be disbursed to the school and the school will compensate the student for their expenses associated with this educational opportunity. Funds cannot be used to cover travel expenses.

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6. How many years is a student eligible for the ISA GEAR Scholarship?

A student is eligible for the ISA GEAR UP Scholarship for up to six years as long as they are an undergraduate student attending a post- secondary institution. The student must also meet all of the other requirements: remain in good academic standing by maintaining a GPA of 2.0 or higher, carry a full-time load, attend consecutive semesters or quarters.

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7. Does a student have to maintain a certain grade point average (GPA) to continue to receive the ISA GEAR UP Scholarship?

Yes. ISA GEAR UP Scholarship recipients must maintain a GPA of 2.0 or higher. If your GPA falls below 2.0, and failing to meet the other requirements should be reported to the Program Administrator, Nicolle Mckinney at 312-793-4639 or via email at Nicolle.mckinney@illinois.gov. Each case will be handled on a case by case basis; however, it may jeopardize the student’s scholarship eligibility.

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8. What are the other requirements to continue to receive the GEAR UP Scholarship?

Students must attend consecutive semesters as well as remain in full time status. Failing to meet all three requirements should be reported to the Program Administrator, Nicolle Mckinney at 312-793-4639 or via email at Nicolle.mckinney@illinois.gov.

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9. Is the GEAR UP Scholarship renewable?

Yes. Students must apply annually to receive their scholarship. The annual deadline is June 30th for each new school year.

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