Resources for Watebury GEAR UP students

GEAR UP CT Waterbury Alliance

Information for GEAR UP Students and Families

The 2012-2019 GEAR UP CT grant will end July 22, 2019. GEAR UP students will continue to receive the Tuition and Fee Waiver and/or the GEAR UP CT Scholarship as long as they remain eligible. Please continue reading below for important information regarding the Tuition and Fee Waiver, the GEAR UP CT Scholarship, and where to go for support.


Tips for College Success

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Asking for help is not a sign of failure. There are people on campus who can help you- use them! If you have questions about financial aid, go to the financial aid office at your school. If you are not doing well in your class, talk to your professor. Use your school’s tutoring center for help. Get information on NVCC's tutoring center, the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE).
  • Get involved! Students who are involved on campus are more likely to succeed in school. Play a sport, join a club, go to events- you’re only a college student once so enjoy it! Learn more about the clubs and activities at NVCC.
  • The first week of classes is your add/drop period. During this time, you can change your schedule without it affecting your permanent record. If you don’t like a professor, see if you can switch to another section of the course with a different professor. If you know you won’t make it to an early morning class, see if you can get switch to the afternoon. If you discover you are taking too many classes, drop a class. After the first week of classes, you will have to withdraw from a class. Withdrawals show up on your transcript.
  • Think before you withdrawal. Before you withdrawal, talk to your professor to see if there’s anything you can do to bring up your grade. Too many withdrawals can impact your financial aid.
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About the Tuition & Fee Waiver

About the Tuition & Fee Waiver

What is the GEAR UP Tuition

GEAR UP Waterbury students who are enrolled at Naugatuck Valley Community College, Manchester Community College, or Southern Connecticut State University will have their tuition and fees waived, meaning students can attend tuition and fee free. The waiver only covers the costs of tuition and fees and does NOT cover other costs of attendance such as books.

What do I need to do to receive the Tuition

To receive the Tuition & Fee Waiver, you must:

  • Apply and be accepted to one of the three GEAR UP schools- Naugatuck Valley Community College, Manchester Community College, or Southern CT State University.
  • Have a completed FAFSA on file. The FAFSA is available starting October 1st at fafsa.ed.gov.
  • Complete verification if selected. After completing the FAFSA, you may be selected for verification by the federal government, which means you will have to verify information on the FAFSA and submit additional documentation to your school. Please be sure to check your e-mail regularly to see if you are selected for verification and follow up with your school if you are selected.
  • Notify GEAR UP that you plan on attending a GEAR UP school. This ensures that you are coded in the school's system as a GEAR UP student. (If you graduated from Crosby, Kennedy, Waterbury Career Academy, or Wilby High School you do NOT need to contact GEAR UP. You are automatically coded as GEAR UP based on your high school and graduation year.

Do I need to pay a deposit or any money to hold my spot or register for classes?

As long as you complete the requirements (see previous answer), you do not need to pay any money towards tuition or fees. At Southern CT State University, you do not need to pay the enrollment deposit, but will need to pay the housing deposit if you wish to live on campus. If you have not completed the requirements for the Tuition & Fee Waiver, you will be responsible for paying tuition & fees. Once you have completed the requirements, any money paid will be reimbursed or applied to your outstanding bill.

If I receive the GEAR UP Tuition

Yes, students who are eligible will also receive the GEAR UP Connecticut Scholarship (please see below for FAQ about the GEAR UP CT Scholarship). You also may be eligible to receive additional financial aid. The total amount of grant aid and waivers from all sources cannot exceed the cost of attendance.

Is there a deadline to enroll in order to receive the Tuition

You must enroll during the academic year following high school graduation (Class of 2018: 2018-2019 academic year; Class of 2019: 2019-2020 academic year).

Can I defer my acceptance and still receive the Tuition

As long as you enroll during the academic year following graduation, you can receive the waiver. Students in the Class of 2018 can defer until the spring 2019 semester and students in the Class of 2019 can defer until the spring 2020 semester.

For how long am I eligible to receive the Tuition

The waiver applies for 2 years at Naugatuck Valley Community College or Manchester Community College and 4 years at Southern CT State University starting from the first year.

If I transfer from a non-GEAR UP school to a GEAR UP school, can I receive the Tuition

No, to receive the Tuition & Fee Waiver, you must enroll and start at a GEAR UP school (Naugatuck Valley Community College, Manchester Community College, or Southern Connecticut State University).

Can I start off at Naugatuck Valley Community College and transfer to Southern CT State University and receive the Tuition

No, the Tuition & Fee Waiver is for the first GEAR UP school attended.

What if I take a semester off? Can I receive the Tuition

No. If there is a gap in enrollment, you can no longer receive the Tuition & Fee Waiver.

What if I am on academic probation? Can I still receive the Tuition

Academic probation does not automatically result in the loss of the Tuition & Fee Waiver. The school’s policies and handbook govern. If, as a result of being on academic probation, you are suspended from the school, you would not be eligible for the Tuition & Fee Waiver.

Financial Aid Information

GEAR UP students must complete the FAFSA every year in order to receive the Tuition and Fee Waiver and the GEAR UP CT Scholarship. For information on financial aid or help with your FAFSA and financial aid verification, visit NVCC's Financial Aid area.

How Do I Find Scholarships?

Need info on scholarships? Visit NVCC's scholarship listings.

About the GEAR UP Scholarship

About the GEAR UP Scholarship

How do I apply for the GEAR UP Connecticut Scholarship?

Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as the FAFSA, by going to www.fafsa.ed.gov. You must fill out the FAFSA every year beginning with your senior year of high school. The FAFSA is the application required for all kinds of college financial aid, including the GEAR UP Connecticut Scholarship. The FAFSA is available each year beginning in October. Each college will have a deadline by which they want the FAFSA completed - be sure to find out about your college’s deadline! Otherwise, you might not be considered for all the aid your college offers.

How much will the GEAR UP Connecticut Scholarship be?

The exact amount of the scholarship may vary from year to year. It depends on the number of GEAR UP students who fill out the FAFSA and go to college. For Year 1, the award amount is $1,150 ($575 per semester). For Year 2, the award amount is $3,500 ($1,750 per semester). For Year 3, the award is projected to be $2,000 and the Year 4 award is projected to be $1,700. Exact amounts for Year 3 and Year 4 will depend on the number of students who are eligible for the scholarship. The amount you receive cannot exceed the cost of attendance at the college you select to attend – that means that the amount of the GEAR UP Connecticut Scholarship, added to the other grants and scholarships you may receive, cannot exceed the total cost of attendance. The cost of attendance is determined by the college you attend and includes things like transportation and books, that go beyond tuition and fees.

When will I receive the GEAR UP CT Scholarship?

Money is automatically sent to your college once they confirm that you are enrolled. Half of the funds will be sent in November for the fall semester and the other half will be sent in March for the spring semester. In July or August, you will receive an e-mail from the Office of Higher Education with your award letter for the GEAR UP CT Scholarship (also referred to as the GEAR UP 3 Scholarship). The e-mail will be sent to the e-mail address you listed on your FAFSA. The award letter will list the school you are attending. If you bring your award notice to your school’s financial aid office, they may credit your account with the award amount. If you are attending a different school than the school that is listed, you MUST contact the Office of Higher Education. If you do not, you will not receive the scholarship money. To contact the Office of Higher Ed, call 860-947-1856 or email GUIII@ctohe.org.

What if I do not receive my award letter?

If you do not receive your award letter by September 1st, it most likely means the Office of Higher Education was unable to find a match for you. In order to update your information in the system, please emailDavid Celotto or call him at 203-575-8007.

How can I use the scholarship money?

The money can be used for tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, and personal expenses that are included in your cost of attendance. Money will first be applied toward any outstanding balance you have with the college. If your balance is paid in full, any leftover scholarship money can be refunded to you in accordance with the college's refund policy.

How do I know if my college is eligible?

In order to be eligible for the GEAR UP Connecticut Scholarship, you must attend a Title IV college. 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 is a Title IV college and you can receive GEAR UP scholarship funds while you are enrolled there.

How do I apply for the GEAR UP Connecticut Scholarship again?

As stated above, you have to complete and submit a FAFSA every year starting in your senior year of high school, or you will not be eligible for that year.

What if I don't go to college right away after graduating high school?

You can still use the scholarship even if you do not go to college right away. The rules of the GEAR UP scholarship state that you must be under the age of 22 the first time you receive a GEAR UP scholarship. As long as you enroll in college and receive your first GEAR UP Connecticut Scholarship before you turn 22, you may still be eligible.

What if my parents make a lot of money?

A family's income is not used to determine eligibility for the GEAR UP Connecticut Scholarship.

What if my high school G.P.A (grade point average) is low?

High school G.P.A. is not considered when awarding the GEAR UP Connecticut Scholarship.

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

No. The GEAR UP Connecticut Scholarship is only for undergraduate studies.

Can I use the scholarship if I am going into the military right after high school graduation?

The GEAR UP Connecticut Scholarship can only be used to pay for expenses associated with attending college. We cannot award the GEAR UP Connecticut Scholarship for military service, but you can still be eligible for the scholarship. As long as you enroll in college and receive your first GEAR UP Connecticut Scholarship before you turn 22, you may still be eligible.

I want to go to one of the three GEAR UP colleges (Manchester Community College, Naugatuck Valley Community College, Southern Connecticut State University) and I have been told that they will waive tuition and fees if I am accepted. Do I still need a scholarship?

YES! GEAR UP participants who are accepted to Manchester, Naugatuck Valley, or Southern will have their tuition and fees waived, but that does not cover room and board and other costs of attendance. You should fill out the FAFSA, and the GEAR UP Connecticut Scholarship can be applied to those other costs.

Will I still be eligible for the GEAR UP Connecticut Scholarship if I go to college part-time?

Yes. The scholarship amount will be pro-rated to reflect your part-time status.

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