frequently asked questions
What does a Guardian Scholars Foundation (GSF) scholarship include?
Guardian Scholars Foundation teams with Iowa universities to create the best financial aid package possible for each student. The Foundation gives up to $8,000 per year in combination with state, federal and the institution’s own aid with the goal to achieve paid tuition, room and board, and a stipend for textbooks. The cost of the university and the amount of outside aid awarded to the student will determine the university’s willingness to agree to the whole GSF scholarship package. However, colleges that have become partner institutions with the Foundation agree to award an additional $8,000 scholarship to the student, on top of previously offered aid and the Guardian Scholarship, in order to cover the cost of attendance.
Who is eligible for the Guardian Scholars Foundation scholarship?
GSF has three absolute requirements. The applicant must:
- have spent time in foster care or a court appointed alternative in Iowa between the ages of 14-18.
- have earned their diploma or an associate's degree.
- have completed high school with a 2.3 GPA (out of 4.0) or above.
Although the Foundation encourages students to apply to four-year universities to earn their bachelor’s degree, students attending community college with a strong plan to transfer after two years to a bachelor’s program are also taken into consideration.
How does one apply?
After learning about the scholarship and determining that the qualifications for the scholarship have been met, scroll to the “Application” drop down and select the “Apply Here” tab. There you will find the application packet and consent form. Please be sure to thoroughly complete all parts of the application including the application page (front and back), two letters of recommendation, a short essay, and the release and consent form. Compile all components and mail to the address listed or scan and email to the designated email address. If you do not have the ability to print or scan your case worker or high school counselor should be able to assist you. Please note that incomplete application packets will not be reviewed.
Is there a due date when applying for the scholarship?
Yes. March 1st is the hard deadline when applying for the scholarship for the upcoming fall semester. GSF will award scholarships in April.
How many scholarships are awarded each year?
The amount of donations received each year determines the number of scholarships awarded. A minimum of 5 scholarships over the next few years will be awarded with the goal to award up to 15, should funding be available.
What does a mentor from the community do and is it necessary to have one?
The Guardian Scholars Foundation learned early on that pairing a dependable, caring, and helpful adult with each scholar is instrumental in ensuring the success of the student. Understandably, the biggest impediment facing young adults aging out of foster care is a lack of a strong support system to assist them both emotionally and fiscally. The GSF scholarship aids the student financially while the mentor is there to support the student emotionally. Guardian Scholars works very hard to pair students with adults who may work in the same area that the student wishes to work in the future, who may have the same personal interests such as the arts or sports, or may even have come from the foster system themselves and understand first-hand what the student is going through. Often times a mentor provides career advice and even professional connections for the student. They are a nearby resource in times of emergency. If the mentor chooses, they may invite the students over for holidays or dinners. Although it is required by the Foundation that every student has a community companion, it comes down to the scholar to decide how involved with their mentor they would like to be with the minimum being a monthly conversation. Since this relationship only benefits the student, Guardian Scholars seriously encourages a strong friendship to be made.
Why do I have to sign a release and consent form?
Each of the three paragraphs on the release and consent form serves a different purpose. The first allows the Foundation to use some of your information for its own publications such as this website and quarterly newsletters to donors. The second makes it possible to discuss your financial aid package with possible colleges to try and get you the whole package of paid tuition, room and board, and a stipend for textbooks. Also, it lets the Foundation ensure that the information on your application is accurate. Finally, the third gives the Department of Human serves permission to discuss with Guardian Scholars if you spent time in foster care.
If I want to attend a college that is not a partner institution, what will my scholarship look like if I don’t receive the whole Guardian Scholars package?
Just because you do not attend a partner institution does not mean that you will not receive additional aid from the university of your choosing. However, it is not guaranteed. If the Guardian Scholars Foundation is unable to negotiate further aid in order to achieve paid tuition, room and board, and a stipend for textbooks you will receive, at a minimum, the additional $8,000 from GSF towards lessening your loans.