The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the form every student must complete to be considered for federal grants, work-study, and student loans. Every year, thousands of Utah students miss out on millions of dollars of help for college simply by not completing the FAFSA.

You’ll have to wait until your senior year to file the FAFSA, but you can still plan for the costs of college now – and we’re rewarding high school sophomores and juniors for doing just that! We will select two students who will each win a $500 scholarship.


PLEASE BE ADVISED – from March 1, 2019 through March 25, 2019, this scholarship contest required students to complete the FAFSA4Caster.

The FAFSA4Caster has been taken down for site maintenance and the Department of Education predicts it will come online near or after our scholarship’s April 15, 2019 deadline. StepUp has therefore updated this scholarship’s requirements with an alternative task – students are asked to use a college’s net price calculator (instead of the FAFSA4Caster) to estimate their college costs and financial aid before writing their essay. More details are provided below.

  • Before you write your essay, find the net price calculator on the website of one college or university you’re interested in attending. You may need your parent’s or guardian’s assistance with this. If your college or university does not offer a net price calculator, please use general information about costs and financial aid from your college’s website to write your essay. Here are links to the net price calculators at Utah’s institutions:

UNIVERSITY OF UTAH – net price calculator currently unavailable, but information about their costs can be found here
UTAH SYSTEM OF TECHNICAL COLLEGES – not every location offers a net price calculator, but information about their costs can be found here

  • Using the information you learned from the net price calculator, create a plan for paying for college and write an essay about it (maximum 750 words). We encourage you to use any StepUp resources, including our Paying for College Guide, to understand concepts like federal student aid, scholarships, college savings, and more. Here are some ideas to get you started:
    • Where do you want to go to college? Do you know how much your degree will cost?
    • How did the FAFSA4Caster help you create your paying-for-college plan? Will you qualify for federal student aid? How much of your educational costs will it cover? For your privacy, please do NOT disclose your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) or the dollar amount of your federal student aid award estimate in your essay.
    • What other steps have you taken so far to pay for college? What will you do in the time leading up to your high school graduation to prepare for college financially?
  • Complete the scholarship application by 11:59pm on April 15, 2019
  • Failure to complete one or all of the requirements will disqualify you from any prize eligibility.


  • The following rules are official, regardless of any information listed elsewhere.
  • Entrants must be legal United States residents and residents of the state of Utah.
  • Entrants must be attending 10th or 11th grade at a Utah educational institution or legally recognized homeschool.
  • Employees of the Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority, its affiliated organizations, and the immediate family members of each are ineligible.
  • Only one entry per person is allowed.
  • The student must enroll in an eligible postsecondary institution after high school to receive the funds. An eligible postsecondary institution is defined as any postsecondary institution which is legally permitted to disburse Title IV federal student aid. If a winning students does not enroll in an eligible postsecondary institution within four (4) years of the student’s graduating class completion of high school, the award is forfeited, and the funds will be returned to the Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority’s pool of funds in the Salt Lake Education Foundation trust. In order to receive the funds, the student must mail proof of enrollment (including the student’s college ID number) to the Salt Lake Education Foundation at:
    • Salt Lake Education Foundation
      Attn: Jeanette Hartley
      440 East 100 South
      Salt Lake City, UT 84111
  • The scholarship funds will be sent directly to the postsecondary institution where the student enrolled to be credit to the student’s account. The scholarship is not a waiver; therefore, any funds remaining after a student’s tuition and fees are paid may be released to the student to cover other educational expenses such as books, supplies, equipment, room, board, or travel.


  • The contest will officially open on March 1, 2019
  • The contest will officially end at 11:59pm MT on April 15, 2019. All applications must be received by this time to be considered eligible.


  • The StepUp team will review all applications. Preference will given to candidates who, through their application and essay:
    • Exhibit leadership, volunteerism, and extracurricular involvement
    • Display strong academic performance and a commitment to higher education
    • Formulate a thoughtful, specific, achievable plan for paying for college that utilizes multiple resources and strategies
    • Demonstrate the ability to write unique and thought-provoking material
    • Avoid spelling and grammatical errors
  • Winners will be chosen from the pool of eligible applicants and will receive a phone call, email, and letter by May 1, 2019 confirming they have won


  • Prizes cannot be redeemed for cash or substituted for any other items by the winners. The winners cannot assign or transfer prizes. UHEAA and StepUp Utah reserve the right to substitute a comparable prize of like or greater value, including cash, for any prize, for any reason.
  • Only one prize will be awarded per household per year.
  • This giveaway is subject to all applicable laws and regulations and is void where prohibited or restricted by law, including without limitation, in jurisdictions requiring registration, filing, trust account, or posting of a bond, or any other requirements or disclosures that are not expressly satisfied by these rules.
  • UHEAA is not responsible for typographical or other errors in the printing, offering, or administration of the giveaway, or in the announcement of the prize.
  • By entering, participants represent that they are eligible, and agree (a) to be bound by these rules and the decisions of the judges, (b) to release StepUp Utah and UHEAA, parent companies, subsidiaries, affiliates, directors, officers, employees, and agents from any and all liability for any injuries, losses, or damages of any kind cause by any prize or resulting from acceptance, possession, use, or misuse of any prize, and (c) to UHEAA’s use of entrants’ personal information including pictures, video, or other media that includes the entrant’s likeness.
  • Prize winnings may be subject to State or Federal taxes. Winners are encouraged to consult a tax professional to determine any tax consequences.

If you have any questions regarding this application or scholarship contest, please contact us:

Katie Wornek, 801-321-7245,