""Maine State GEAR UP Program
Creating a College-Going Culture in Maine


If you are eligible for the GEAR UP scholarship, when you get your financial aid award letter from your college you should see GEAR UP listed along with your other federal aid.

Scholarship
GEAR UP Scholarship

 

Guidelines | FAQ's | Colleges in Maine


Guidelines 2012-2013

>> Download the PDF version.

These guidelines are applicable to GEAR UP students who have been confirmed by the Syntiro as meeting the minimum requirements for consideration of a GEAR UP SCHOLARSHIP. Academic year guidelines are published annually by FAME, based on available funding, as soon after January 30 as possible.

For the 2012-2013 academic year, GEAR UP scholarship recipients must:

  • Be a Maine resident.
  • File the 2012-2013 FAFSA (no deadline imposed). Based on the results, the student must have an Estimated Family Contribution (EFC), confirmed by their school, equal to or less than $7500
  • Attend an eligible Title IV institution in the United States
  • Enroll at least half time in an eligible program at an eligible institution. An eligible institution must be a FAME approved: Public, private, independent, for profit or nonprofit institution in the United States, authorized to offer undergraduate degrees, certificates or diploma programs and also approved by the U.S. Department of Education to administer Title IV programs.
  • Meet the institution’s Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements
  • Meet the age requirement necessitating recipients to be less than 22 years old at the time of their first award. For the 2012-2013 academic year, any student who will be 22 during the calendar year 2013 is not eligible as a first time recipient.

Processing Guidelines:

  • Students enrolled at an eligible out of state institution MUST contact FAME to inform them of their intent so that proper procedures can take place ensuring payment to the school.
  • Summer and other mini-sessions are not considered periods of enrollment for purposes of disbursement of scholarship funds.
  • Students will receive points for the amount of scholarship received as indicated on the chart below. A student may not receive a scholarship for more than the equivalent of 8 full-time semesters (16 points).
  • In the event a student has received grant aid in excess of the student’s cost of attendance, the State of Maine Grant funds must be reduced prior to any reduction of GEAR UP Scholarship funds.

Award Amounts - 2012-2013 with EFC cut off at $7,500


Enrollment Fall 12 Semester Spring 13 Semester Points Assigned
Full Time
$1,850
$1,850
2.00
Three-Quarter (3/4) Time
$1,388
$1,387
1.50
Half/Part Time
$925
$925
1.00


FAQ's

Also download GEAR UP Scholarship - Liaison Info and FAQ's (pdf)  

Eligibility

  1. Do GEAR UP students get a college scholarship when they graduate? What does the student need to do to be eligible? Answer
  2. Does being part of GEAR UP ensure you a scholarship at the end of the program? Answer
  3. Is there any way the students can lose their scholarships after they are enrolled? Answer
  4. If my child moves to another high school that does not have GEAR UP, will they lose their scholarship eligibility? Answer
  5. Is it possible to take a year off between high school and college and maintain eligibility for the GEAR UP Scholarship? Answer
  6. How may participation in GEAR UP and eligibility for a GEAR UP scholarship affect student chances for other grants and/or scholarships for which he/she may qualify? Are there any limits? Answer
  7. My GEAR UP student has graduated high school and has questions about his/her scholarship eligibility/ineligibility.  Whom should he/she contact? Answer
  8. If a student is not income eligible their first year of college, but becomes eligible due to a change in family income, can she access the GU scholarship for her next year? Answer
  9. How are GEAR UP seniors notified if they receive the GEAR UP scholarship? Answer
  10. In order to be eligible for the GEAR UP scholarship, and other federal aid, do I need to be a US citizen? Answer

  11. Where and how you can use your scholarship

  12. At which colleges can I use my GEAR UP scholarship? Answer
  13. The scholarship guidelines say I need to be enrolled in a “degree program,” does this mean I can’t receive the scholarship the program I’m enrolled in is not an associates or bachelor program? What about 1-year programs? Answer
  14. What is amount of the GEAR UP Scholarship? Answer
  15. Does the GEAR UP scholarship cover tuition for out-of-state colleges or universities? Answer
  16. Will GEAR UP students who go to community colleges receive the full scholarship? Answer
  17. Can GEAR UP students use scholarship money for books and fees? Answer
  18. Can GEAR UP funds be used toward remedial college coursework? Answer
  19. Can I get a GEAR UP scholarship even if I only attend college part-time? Answer

  20. FAME and the FAFSA

  21. Does FAME need the students' Social Security Numbers? Answer
  22. Why is the FAFSA important? Answer
  23. Why is it important to file my FAFSA as early as possible? Answer
  24. Is there a GEAR UP deadline for filing my FAFSA? Answer
  25. How does my family's income affect my GEAR UP status and scholarship? Answer
  26. I have been notified that I am eligible for a GEAR UP scholarship, but it's not showing up on my financial aid package from my school; what should I do? Answer

Answers:

Q-1: Do GEAR UP students get a college scholarship when they graduate? What does the student need to do to be eligible?
Please visit the Scholarship Guidelines page of this section to get the full details.

Q-2: Does being part of GEAR UP ensure you a scholarship at the end of the program?
Not necessarily. All other program requirements must be met and you and your family’s FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) that is completed in your senior year will determine whether you are income eligible. All income eligible students who meet all other GEAR UP requirements will be eligible for the GEAR UP scholarship. Being a part of GEAR UP does not guarantee a scholarship.

Q-3: Is there any way the students can lose their scholarships after they are enrolled?
Yes, a student must maintain satisfactory progress in the course of study according to the standards and practices of the institution they are attending. They must continue to file a yearly FAFSA, and remain income eligible.

Q-4: If my child moves to another high school that does not have GEAR UP, will they lose their scholarship?
Yes, GEAR UP participation and scholarship eligibility is limited to students enrolled in participating schools. However, a student can maintain his/her eligibility by staying in contact with the appropriate GEAR UP liaison at their former school if this is agreed upon by the student, parent, and liaison.

Q-5: Is it possible to take a year off between high school and college and maintain eligibility for the GEAR UP Scholarship?
Yes, as long as you begin using the scholarship before age 22, you may take time off before or during your college career.

Q-6: How may participation in GEAR UP and eligibility for a GEAR UP scholarship affect student chances for other grants and/or scholarships for which he/she may qualify? Are there any limits?
The GEAR UP Scholarship will be included in a student's financial aid package that is determined by the college or university based upon the cost of attendance and the student’s Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) as determined following completion of the FAFSA. The GEAR UP scholarship is counted as a part of your financial aid package. Books and fees are included when the college estimates the cost of attendance and figured into the financial aid award package. You cannot receive a package greater than what the financial aid office determines your costs to be.

Q-7: My GEAR UP student has graduated high school and still has questions about his/her scholarship eligibility/ineligibility.  Whom should he/she contact?
The student should contact their college's financial aid office to verify eligibility, or for questions about scholarships that were denied because of an incomplete FAFSA or income ineligibility.  If he/she cannot obtain a satisfactory answer from the college, they may email us directly at office@syntiro.org.

Q-8: If a student is not income eligible their first year of college, but becomes eligible due to a change in family income, can she access the GU scholarship for her next year?
Yes, if her family's income changes he should contact her college's financial aid office so they can recalculate her aid package. This option is even available on a semester basis -- for example, if the family income changes in the first semester of her freshman year, it's possible to get a GU scholarship for the second semester if she contacts her financial aid office.  However, it’s important to remember that she must be under 22 years of age if she has never received the GU scholarship before.

Q-9: How are GEAR UP seniors notified if they receive the GEAR UP scholarship?
GEAR UP seniors will be notified by the Maine Department of Education in May of their senior year of their scholarship status. Eligible students should also see the GEAR UP scholarship in their financial award package from the colleges to which they have applied.

Q-10: In order to be eligible for the GEAR UP scholarship, and other federal aid, do I need to be a US citizen?
Yes, you need to be a US citizen, or an eligible non-citizen. This is what the FAFSA says regarding eligible non-citizens:

They must have an 8 or 9 digit Alien Registration Number

"Generally, you are an eligible non citizen if you are (1) a U.S. permanent resident with a Permanent Resident Card (I-551); (2) a conditional permanent resident (I-551C); or (3) the holder of an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) from the Department of Homeland Security showing any one of the following designations: Refugee, Asylum Granted, Parolee (I-94 confirms paroled for a minimum of one year and status has not expired) or Cuban-Haitian Entrant.

When they file the FAFSA, the must check off their status and they will be confirmed by the federal processing agency.

Q-11: At which colleges can I use my GEAR UP scholarship?
Beginning in 2009-2010 GEAR UP eligible students may be able to receive the scholarship at any qualified institution of higher education in the United States. In the past, students could only receive the scholarship at Maine colleges, but this is no longer the case.  If you are attending college out of state you must contact the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) at (800) 228-3734 or education@famemaine.com.

For purposes of the GEAR UP scholarship, a "qualified institution of higher education" is one that has a Title IV Program Participation Agreement with the U.S. Department of Education (Title IV refers to a section of the Higher Education Act that authorizes student aid). This means that the school participates in federal student aid programs (i.e., the institution has an agreement with the U.S. Department of Education whereby students are eligible to receive federal financial assistance to attend the school). This assistance includes Pell Grants or one of the federal loans listed under "Common Qualified Student Loans."

A school may be fully accredited and offer quality graduate degrees, but unless it is a school that participates with the U.S. Department of Education in Title IV financial assistance, the GEAR UP Scholarship, by law, cannot be used there.

It is not possible to determine whether a school is Title IV merely by the name of the school. Most two- and four-year institutions in the United States are Title IV schools. Thousands of technical and trade schools are Title IV as well. Art schools, beauty schools, and truck driving schools may be Title IV. To become a Title IV school, an institution has to meet certain requirements and obtain a Title IV Program Participation Agreement with the U.S. Department of Education.
To Find Out If A School Is Qualified

  • Ask the financial aid office if the school is a Title IV institution.
  • Learn if students who attend the school are eligible to use Pell Grants, Perkins Loans, or Stafford Loans to attend the school. If students are eligible for these loans, it is a Title IV school. These loans are examples of some of the most common types of Title IV assistance.
  • Call the toll-free number at the U.S. Department of Education's Federal Student Aid Information Center between 9:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time), Monday through Friday. That number is 1-800-433-3243. You also can conduct an online search at the Department of Education's Web site at www.ed.gov.

Q-12: Q: The scholarship guidelines say I need to be enrolled in a “degree program,” does this mean I can’t receive the scholarship the program I’m enrolled in is not an associates or bachelor program? What about 1-year programs?
The easiest way to find this out is to as the financial aid office at that school if if the program is eligible for Pell Grant funds. If the answer is yes, then students enrolling in that program can also be eligible for the GEAR UP scholarship as long as they meet all other requirements.

Q-13: What is amount of the GEAR UP Scholarship?
For the school year 09-10 the scholarship amount will be $5,350/year for a full-time eligible student. See the calculations for part-time and three-quarter time above in the Scholarship Guidelines section.

Q-14: Does the GEAR UP scholarship cover tuition for out-of-state colleges or universities?
Yes, as long as you meet all other eligibility requirements.  Please see Q-11 above.

Q-15: Will GEAR UP students who go to community college receive the full scholarship?
Yes, the GEAR UP scholarship may be used at Community Colleges – the only requirement is that the school is an eligible Title IV institution, which means that students at that school can receive federal financial aid.  If eligible, students receive the full amount of the GEAR UP scholarship unless that amount is not needed to cover their college expenses. In that case the student would receive only enough to cover costs as identified by the college.

Q-16: Can GEAR UP students use scholarship money for books and fees?
Books and fees are included when the college estimates the cost of attendance and figured into the financial aid award package. Contact the financial aid office at your college with questions.

Q-17: Can GEAR UP funds be used toward remedial college coursework?
No, however the student can always apply for the scholarship for the next year if they are less than 22 years old.

Q-18: Can I get a GEAR UP scholarship even if I only attend college part-time?
Yes, there is a part-time and 3/4 eligibility for students receiving the GEAR UP scholarship. 12 credits is considered full-time, 9-11 is considered 3/4 time, and 6-8 credits is considered part time. See the above Scholarship Guidelines section.

Q-19: Does FAME need the students' Social Security Numbers?
Yes, they need the social security numbers to track students and award scholarships. These are collected during the survey and verification process during the students’ senior year of high school.

Q-20: Why is the FAFSA important?
The FAFSA determines eligibility for scholarships and all other financial aid. For more information, visit the FAFSA website.

Q-21: Why is it important to file my FAFSA as early as possible?
Institutional financial aid (from the college(s) you have been accepted to) is distributed early and you have a much higher chance of receiving a better aid package if you file earlier. The first date you can file is Jan 1, and we recommend that you file as soon after this date as possible.

Q-22: Is there a GEAR UP deadline for filing my FAFSA?
We want all seniors to file their FAFSA before March 1, but there is no longer a hard deadline. We urge you to file as soon as possible to capitalize on other sources of financial aid.

Q-23: How does my family's income affect my GEAR UP status and scholarship?
When the student was enrolled in the program in 7th grade they were eligible for free or reduced school lunch. We do not collect family income levels again until they file their FAFSA (typically as a senior) and at this point the student needs to be income eligible in order to receive their GEAR UP scholarship.

Q-24: I have been notified that I am eligible for a GEAR UP scholarship, but it's not showing up on my financial aid package from my school; what should I do?
First, make sure that you listed your college on your FAFSA. Then, check with the financial aid office at your college to double check whether they have your name on their GEAR UP scholarship list. If the college is in Maine, they should have received a list of eligible students from FAME (the Finance Authority of Maine). If they do not have your name on this list, but you have received a letter saying that you are eligible for the scholarship, please email beth@syntiro.org and include your name, which college you plan to attend, and a short explanation of the problem. If you plan to enroll in a college outside of Maine, you must contact the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) at (800) 228-3734 or education@famemaine.com


Colleges in Maine

GEAR UP students attending college outside of Maine may be eligible for the GEAR UP scholarship. Please contact the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) at (800) 228-3734 if you have questions about your eligibility.

Note: We define "college" as any 2 or 4 year post-secondary institution.

Name Location
Andover College Lewiston, Portland
Bangor Theological Seminary Bangor
Bates College Lewiston
Beal College Bangor
Birthwise Midwifery School Bridgton
Bowdoin College Brunswick
Central Maine Community College Auburn
Central Maine Medical Center College of Nursing & Health Professions Lewiston
Central Maine Medical Center School of Radiologic Technology Lewiston
Colby College Waterville
College of the Atlantic Bar Harbor
Eastern Maine Community College Bangor
Fuller Circles School for Therapeutic Massage
Oakland
Husson University Bangor, So. Portland, Presque, Calais
Kennebec Valley Community College Fairfield
The Landing School of Boatbuilding, Yacht Design, & Marine Systems Kennebunkport
Maine College of Art (MECA) Portland
Maine Maritime Academy Castine
Mercy Hospital School of Radiologic Technology Portland
Mr. Bernard's School of Hair Fashion Lewiston
New England School of Communications Bangor
Northern Maine Community College Presque Isle
Pierre's School of Cosmetology
Bangor, Caribou, Portland, Sanford, Waterville
Seacoast Career School Sanford
Southern Maine Community College South Portland
Southern New Hampshire University - Brunswick Brunswick
Spa Tech Institute Portland, Westbrook
St. Joseph's College Standish
Thomas College Waterville
Unity College Unity
University of Maine Orono
University of Maine Augusta Augusta
University of Maine Farmington Farmington
University of Maine Fort Kent Fort Kent
University of Maine Machias Machias
University of Maine Presque Isle Presque Isle
University of New England Biddeford, Westbrook
University of Southern Maine Gorham, Portland
University of Southern Maine Lewiston/Auburn Auburn, Lewiston
Washington County Community College Calais
York County Community College Wells

 

National GEAR UP logo
Maine Department of Education Logo Syntiro The Maine State GEAR UP program is funded through a grant (reference #P3345050037; James Davis, Project Officer,) from the U.S. Department of Education to the Maine Department of Education and is managed by Syntiro.
Contact Us Maine State GEAR UP P.O. Box 390 Readfield, ME 04355
p: (866) 291-0004 f: (866) 883-9271 beth@syntiro.org