GEAR UP FAQ

  1. What is the SCSU Gear UP Waiver? Where does it come from and how does it get applied to my account

    GEAR UP students who are in good academic standing are not charged in-state tuition and tuition-related fees to attend Southern. This is called the SCSU Gear Up Waiver.

    The SCSU Gear Up Waiver will be credited to your student account once your financial aid review is complete.
     

  2. Do I have to apply for my GEAR UP financial aid?

    Yes, you must complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) annually in order to be eligible to receive the SCSU Gear Up waiver and the GEAR UP III Scholarship as well as other sources of federal and limited state financial aid.

    *Please note: The SCSU Gear Up Waiver is reflected directly on your bill, whereas the Gear UP III scholarship is reflected in your financial aid award package.
     

  3. Are there any academic requirements I have to meet in order to continue to receive my SCSU Gear Up Waiver and GEAR UP Three Scholarship?

    Yes, your continued eligibility for the SCSU Gear Up Waiver, the GEAR UP III Scholarship, and any other federal and state financial aid you receive from Southern is contingent on maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).

    In general, you are required to maintain at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA and earn at least 67% of the credits that you attempt during the academic year.

    The university’s complete, SAP policy is available here:
    https://inside.southernct.edu/onestop/financial-aid/academic-progress.
     

  4. What does the SCSU Gear Up Waiver pay for? What expenses are not paid for by the SCSU Gear Up Waiver?

    The SCSU Gear Up Waiver pays for the cost of in-state tuition and tuition-related fees at Southern. Tuition-related fees include lab fees for specific courses.

    It does not include the cost of any other expenses associated with attending Southern such as on-campus housing (including the housing deposit), a meal plan, textbooks, or other required course materials.
     

  5. Can I attend SCSU part-time and still receive the SCSU Gear Up Waiver?

    Yes, if you attend SCSU part-time, you may receive the SCSU Gear Up Waiver. The amount of the waiver will be adjusted based on the number of credits in which you are enrolled.
     

  6. How long can I continue to receive the SCSU Gear Up Waiver?

    The SCSU Gear Up Waiver is for 4 years for full-time undergraduate students beginning your freshman year; 2018-2019 or 2019-2020. If you are a part-time student, the waiver will be extended accordingly.
     

  7. Does the SCSU Gear Up Waiver cover winter and/or summer session courses?

    Yes, the SCSU Gear Up Waiver can be applied to cover such courses as long as they are part of your program of study.

    Winter Courses

    Once you register for Winter courses, please email the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships at financialaid@southernct.edu and indicate you are a Gear Up student enrolled in winter courses.

    **If you were granted a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal and you fail to meet the conditions of the approval at the end of the Fall semester, you will lose the Winter waiver.

    Summer Courses

    Summer courses will require a separate application that will be available once summer registration opens.

    **There is no minimum credit requirement.
     

  8. Does the SCSU Gear Up Waiver cover Study Abroad?

    The SCSU Gear Up Waiver only covers Faculty-led Credit Bearing Programs.

    **You are still responsible for the program fees associated with the Study Abroad Program, which are upfront out-of-pocket expenses.

    For more information, please visit the Office of International Education’s page http://www2.southernct.edu/academics/international/index.html
     

  9. What happens to my SCSU Gear Up Waiver if I transfer to another institution?

    Your SCSU Gear Up Waiver is not transferrable to any other institutions, including Naugatuck Valley Community College and Manchester Community College, the other two GEAR UP higher education partners in the CT GEAR UP Alliance. 
     

  10. What happens to my SCSU Gear Up Waiver if I take time off from Southern?

    You must be continuously enrolled at Southern in order to continue to receive the SCSU Gear Up Waiver. If you decide to take time off, you will no longer be eligible to receive the SCSU waiver if you eventually re-enroll at Southern to continue your education.

    **Please see your UAP advocate before making any enrollment changes.
     

  11. What financial aid do I receive at Southern CT State University because I am a GEAR UP student?

    There are two types of financial aid that you receive at Southern specifically because you are a GEAR UP student. One is the SCSU Gear Up Waiver, which Southern provides directly to GEAR UP students. The second is the GEAR UP III Scholarship, which is a separate scholarship for GEAR UP students administered by the CT Office of Higher Education.

    There is also the federal Pell grant and the federal loans which are based on your FAFSA application.

    You may also be eligible for other outside scholarships in addition to federal and state financial aid. If you are awarded more than one tuition specific scholarship, your SCSU Gear Up Waiver can replace that scholarship or your SCSU Gear Up Waiver may be reduced.
     

  12. What is the GEAR UP III Scholarship? Where does it come from and how does it get applied to my accoun

    In addition to the SCSU Gear Up Waiver, GEAR UP students enrolled at Southern are also eligible for the GEAR UP III Scholarship. The GEAR UP III Scholarship is administered by the CT Office of Higher Education.

    Before each academic year, you will receive an email from gearup3@ctohe.org to the email you provided on your FAFSA, notifying you of your eligibility for this scholarship. It will also tell you how much the scholarship will be for the upcoming academic year. You must forward this email to the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships at Southern so that it can be added to your financial aid award and applied to your account.  Forward the email to financialaid@southernct.edu.

    **IMPORTANT:  The GEAR UP III scholarship notification email will be sent by gearup3@ctohe.org to the email address you used on your FAFSA.
     

  13. How is the amount of my GEAR UP III Scholarship determined?

    The amount of the GEAR UP III scholarship is determined each year by the CT Office of Higher Education that administers the scholarship. The amount may vary from year to year depending on the projected number of CT GEAR UP students enrolling in college. The amount of the award for each academic year will be indicated in the email notification you receive from gearup3@ctohe.org prior to the start of the academic year.
     

  14. What does the GEAR UP III Scholarship pay for? What if the amount of my GEAR UP III Scholarship is more than the amount I owe to Southern?

    The GEAR UP III Scholarship can be used for housing, meal plans, books and supplies, and personal expenses that are included in the SCSU Cost of Attendance.

    The scholarship funds will first be applied toward any outstanding balance you have at Southern. If your balance is paid in full, any leftover scholarship money can be refunded to you. 
     

  15. When is the GEAR UP III Scholarship applied to my account?

    Southern will credit your account each semester once you have completed the financial aid application process and provided the financial aid office with a copy of the official email you received from gearup3@ctohe.org regarding your eligibility for the scholarship. The sooner you complete the financial aid process and forward this email, the sooner your scholarship will be applied to your account.
     

  16. What happens to my Gear Up III scholarship if I transfer to another institution?

    Your Gear Up III scholarship is transferable to another institution. If you plan on attending another college please mail the CT Office of Higher Education at GUIII@ctohe.org with the name of the college that you will be attending.
     

  17. Can I receive a PELL grant, private scholarships, and state scholarships as a GEAR UP student?

    As a GEAR UP student, you may be eligible to receive other types of financial aid.

    Your eligibility for federal financial aid, such as PELL grants, Federal Work Study, and Federal Direct Loans, will be determined by the information you provide in your FAFSA.

    Your eligibility for state financial aid is also based on the information provided in your FAFSA. Some state scholarships may also consider academic merit such as class rank, SAT scores and GPA.

    There are thousands of private scholarships offered by many types of organizations such as churches, civic organizations, and businesses. The qualifications and application processes vary for each scholarship.

    **Please note: Any scholarships specific to tuition and fees will offset your SCSU Gear Up Waiver. For example, Roberta B Willis Merit Scholarship, New Haven Promise Scholarship, Honors, Scholarship, Trustee Scholarship are a few.

    The total amount of financial aid you are awarded from all sources cannot exceed the total cost of attendance at Southern. For example, in 2019-20, the total cost of attendance at Southern for full-time a student is $27,680.  Therefore, the total amount of your GU (SCSU) waiver and the GEAR UP III Scholarship added to the other grants, scholarships and loans you may receive cannot exceed $27,680.

    Go to the Paying for College Calculator to see the total cost of attendance for future years and to estimate how much you may have to pay to attend Southern.

    **Please note: Your financial aid package can be adjusted any time according to changes in your award, enrollment, and need based aid.
     

  18. If I have a credit on my account, how do you I get access to those funds? Am I able to use those funds to purchase books?

    If your balance is paid in full and you have more financial aid on your account than your total bill, you will have a credit. A credit on your account is reflected as a negative balance, for example, -$575.

    If there is a credit on your account, and it is the beginning of the semester you can use the credit to purchase books at the SCSU Bookstore. In order to use the credit to purchase books, you will need to first transfer funds on to your Hoot Loot account. You can begin transferring financial aid funds to your Hoot Loot card every August 1st for the Fall semester and every January 1st for the Spring semester. You have three weeks after the start of each semester to utilize any financial aid credits at the bookstore. After that, any remaining credit on your student account is refunded.

    To learn how to transfer financial aid funds on to your Hoot Loot card, visit  https://hootloot.southernct.edu/benefits/deposit.php
     

  19. When will I receive a refund if there is any leftover scholarship funding once my bill is paid in full?

    Southern cannot issue a refund to you until it has received the scholarship funds from the CT Office of Higher Education. Typically, Southern receives the scholarship payments in November and March.

    Because of the timing of the scholarship payments, you should not plan to use your refund to pay for any personal expenses, such as books and required course materials, that you must pay prior to November or March each semester.
     

  20. Who should I speak to if I have questions about my GEAR UP financial aid? How do I contact this person?

    If you have questions about your GEAR UP financial aid, please contact Wanda Negron, Associate Director, in the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships. You can reach her at 203-392-5228 or negronw1@southernct.edu.
     

  21. What are the location and hours of operation for the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships? How else can I contact the financial aid office?

    The Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships is located in the Wintergreen Building, Room 117. It is open Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. You can email the office at financialaid@southernct.edu.

    Appointments are not required.
     

  22. Who is the State contact person for the GEAR UP III Scholarship? In what instance should I contact this person?

    The State contact person for the GEAR UP Three Scholarship is Mark French, Director of Student Financial Aid in the CT Office of Higher Education. His email address is gearup3@ctohe.org. You should contact him in the following instances:
     

    • If you cannot find the email notification of your GEAR UP III Scholarship, please make sure to check the email you use for your FAFSA, including your deleted items and junk folders, for an email from gearup3@ctohe.org. If you still cannot find the scholarship notification email, contact gearup3@ctohe.org to request the email be sent again.
    • If you are leaving Southern and transferring to another college, you must inform the CT Office of Higher Education of your transfer so they can send your scholarship payments to the correct institution. Please email your updated information directly to gearup3@ctohe.org.
    • If you have questions about why your GEAR UP III Scholarship does not appear on your Southern financial aid award or student account, please contact Wanda Negron at negronw1@southernct.edu.
       
  23. How often should I check my email to learn about updates to my financial aid package?

    You will be notified at your Southern email address whenever any action is taken by the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships related to your financial aid application or award. This may include requests for additional information or documentation required to complete your financial aid application or changes made to your award.

    You should check your Southern email on a daily basis to see if you’ve received any updates about your financial aid. This is especially important when your financial aid file is being reviewed by the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships after you have submitted your FAFSA.

    Your prompt response to emails from SCSUFinancialAid@southernct.edu is very important because your financial aid cannot be awarded until any additional information or documentation has been provided and your file review is complete.

    **Please note: Your financial aid package can be adjusted any time according to changes in your award, enrollment, and need based aid.
     

  24. What should I do if I don’t understand what an email from SCSU Financial Aid means?

    If you receive an email from financialAid@southernct.edu and you are not sure what it means, you may call 203-392-5222 for further explanation or visit the office in the Wintergreen building to speak with a financial aid counselor.