Connecticut Higher Education Trust (CHET) Connecticut State Treasurer
Overview
FAQ
Apply
Civic Award
Past Programs

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about the CHET Advance Scholarship.

Program Overview

  • Who is the sponsor of the CHET Advance Scholarship?
  • Who administers the selection process?
  • Who is eligible to apply?
  • How do I apply?
  • When is the application deadline?
  • What is the program timeline?
  • Is this award renewable?

Award Details

  • What are the selection criteria?
  • What are the details of the award?
  • What are my responsibilities if I am chosen as a recipient?
  • How and when are funds issued?
  • How do I change my college choice?

Notifications

  • How will I be notified about the status of my application?
  • What notifications will be sent to me?
  • Who will notifications be sent from?
  • When will I receive notifications?
  • Can I opt out of notifications?

Document Upload

  • Where and when should I send my supporting documents?
  • What should be visible on my documents?
  • What are the acceptable file types?
  • Why can’t I upload a Word document?
  • One of the documents I uploaded has a status of Rejected. What do I do now?
  • How do I upload more than one file at a time?
  • How do I create a .zip file?
  • How long does it take to process my uploaded documents?
  • The deadline has passed, and my documents are still Processing. What does that mean?
  • What are the DOs and DON’Ts of uploading documents to my application?

Application Status

  • How do I know if my application is Complete?
  • As the applicant, what are my responsibilities?
  • How do I use my Home page to verify my application status?
  • The deadline is tomorrow, and it takes 5-7 days to process. Will I make it?
  • The deadline has passed, and my application status is Started. What do I do?

Other Important Information

  • Are scholarships taxable?
  • ISTS Self-Help Portal
  • Contact Information

Home Page Tutorial

  • Help & My Profile
  • How to Apply
  • Application Status


Program Overview

Who is the sponsor of the CHET AdvanceScholarship?

  • State Treasurer Shawn T. Wooden, as Trustee of the Connecticut Higher Education Trust (CHET), is the sponsor of the CHET Advance Scholarship.
  • The CHET Advance Scholarship is funded by TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc. (TFI) and The Hartford. 
    No award issued under the CHET Advance Scholarship will use Connecticut state funds.


Who administers the selection process?

To ensure complete impartiality in the selection of recipients and to maintain a high level of professionalism and security, all aspects of the scholarship application process (including selection) are administered by International Scholarship and Tuition Services, Inc. (ISTS), an independent company that specializes in managing sponsored educational assistance programs.


Who is eligible to apply?

To be eligible for this award:

  • You must be a high school freshman (in the 9th grade) in the 2019-20 academic year
  • You must be at least 13 years of age
  • You must attend a high school located in the state of Connecticut
    --OR--
    You must be home-schooled in Connecticut
    --OR--
    You or your parent/guardian must maintain legal residence in Connecticut while you attend a school outside of Connecticut
  • You must have a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0, or C average, at the time of application.
  • You must intend to begin a higher education program (undergraduate degree, vocational/technical program, etc.) no later than September 30, 2024.

If you wish to be considered for a Merit scholarship, you must also complete the Civic Engagement assignment, outlined below or please refer to the Civic Engagement Overview.

Note: Any otherwise eligible student whose parent is, or if the student resides in the household of, an employee of the Office of the State Treasurer, TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing Inc., The Hartford or ISTS is ineligible to participate in the CHET Advance Scholarship, if such employee provides direct support to the CHET Advance Scholarship or, in the case of employees of The Hartford, its 529 programs.

Previous recipients of a CHET Advance Scholarship are not eligible to reapply.

Limit on applications: Each eligible student can only submit one (1) completed application. Incomplete submissions will not qualify to be entered in the selection process. Multiple entries for the same student are not permitted. In the event more than one entry is received for an eligible student, the first completed entry processed will be considered the only valid entry received.


How do I apply?


When is the application deadline?

Original deadline: March 12, 2020 at 11:59pm Eastern Time

Updated deadline due to Coronavirus pandemic: March 31. 2020 at 11:59pm Eastern Time


What is the program timeline?

  • Application Open: January 21, 2020
  • Application Deadline: March 12, 2020 (updated to March 31, 2020)
  • Notification of Selection Results: By March 31, 2020 (updated to end of May 2020)
  • Funds Disbursed: Beginning August 1, 2023

Is this award renewable?

No, the CHET Advance Scholarship is not renewable.


Award Details

What are the selection criteria?

Selection will occur following the March 12, 2020 deadline (updated to March 31, 2020); only applications with a status of Complete will be considered for a CHET Advance Scholarship award.

Applicants wishing to be considered for the Merit award must complete a civic engagement assignment as follows: Student must interview a community, civic, or government leader and complete the following questions on the application, with attention to grammar, critical thinking and reflection on their civic engagement topic, and organization and overall presentation:

  • How did / does the person you interview inspire you? (Word limit 150)
  • What was the most valuable insight you gained through your conversation? (Word limit 150)
  • What does civic engagement mean to you? What are your future goals to have a voice or leadership role in your own community? (Word limit 250)

Responses will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Demonstration of critical thinking and reflection on the subject of civic engagement
  • Organization and overall presentation of responses.
  • Spelling and grammar.

For more information, refer to the Civic Engagement Overview.

All applicants not selected for a Merit award, as well as those who do not wish to be considered for a Merit award, will be entered into a random selection for the remaining awards, as detailed below.

Decisions are final and are not subject to appeal.  A selected winner who does not meet the eligibility requirements will be disqualified and an alternate winner will be randomly selected.


What are the details of the award?

Merit Awards
One hundred sixty (160) merit awards, valued at $2,023, will be awarded to high school freshmen that complete the civic engagement assignment.  Separate evaluations will be completed to select the 160 merit recipients:

  • Sixteen (16) scholarships will be awarded to high school freshmen who attend a high school in the Connecticut Technical Education and Career System (CTECS), including:

    A.I. Prince Technical High School, Hartford
    Bristol Technical Education Center, Bristol
    Bullard-Havens Technical High School, Bridgeport
    CT Aero Tech School for Aviation Maintenance, Hartford
    E.C. Goodwin Technical High School, New Britain
    Eli Whitney Technical High School, Hamden
    Ella T. Grasso Technical High School, Groton
    Emmett O’Brien Technical High School, Ansonia
    H.C. Wilcox Technical High School, Meriden
    Harvard E. Ellis Technical High School, Danielson
    Henry Abbott Technical High School, Danbury
    Howell Cheney Technical High School, Manchester
    J.M. Wright Technical High School, Stamford
    Norwich Technical High School, Norwich
    Oliver Wolcott Technical High School, Torrington
    Platt Technical High School, Milford
    Stratford School for Aviation Maintenance Technicians, Stratford
    Vinal Technical High School, Middletown
    W.F. Kaynor Technical High School, Waterbury
    Windham Technical High School, Willimantic
  • Sixteen (16) scholarships will be awarded to high school freshmen who attend an identified Turnaround or Focus high school, as defined by the State Department of Education, including:

    A.I. Prince Technical High School, Hartford
    Bassick High School, Bridgeport
    Bulkeley High School, Hartford
    Bridgeport Military Academy, Bridgeport
    Crosby High School, Waterbury
    Culinary Arts Academy at Weaver High School, Hartford
    Eli Whitney Technical High School, Hamden
    High School, Inc., Harford
    High School In The Community, New Haven
    HPHS Engineering and Green Technology Academy*, Hartford
    HPHS Law and Government Academy*, Hartford
    HPHS Nursing and Health Sciences Academy*, Hartford
    James Hillhouse High School, New Haven
    John F. Kennedy High School, Waterbury
    Journalism and Media Academy, Hartford
    New London High School, New London
    Stamford Academy, Stamford
    Stevens Alternate High School, East Hartford
    Warren Harding High School, Bridgeport
    Wilby High School, Waterbury

    *HPHS = Hartford Public High School
  • One hundred twenty-eight (128) scholarships will be awarded to sixteen (16) high school freshmen from each of Connecticut’s eight (8) counties who attend any qualifying high school, as indicated in “Who is eligible to apply?”, above.  Applicants from the CTECS and Turnaround/Focus school categories who were not selected in those categories will be added to the larger county category award selection.

If there are no applicants from either the CTECS or Turnaround/Focus school categories, unused awards will be reassigned to the general merit category. If candidates are not available in the general merit category, unused awards will be reassigned to the random selection category. Applicants that do not win in the merit category are eligible to win in the random selection category.

Random Selection
Sixty-four (64) $1,250 scholarships will be awarded via random selection.  Separate random drawings will be completed to select the 64 recipients:

  • Sixteen (16) scholarships will be randomly awarded to high school freshmen who attend a high school in the Connecticut Technical Education and Career System (CTECS; see school list on previous page)
  • Sixteen (16) scholarships will be randomly awarded to high school freshmen who attend an identified Turnaround or Focus high school, as defined by the State Department of Education (see school list on previous page)
  • Thirty-two (32) scholarships will be randomly awarded to four (4) high school freshmen from each of Connecticut’s eight (8) counties who attend any qualifying high school, as indicated in “Who is eligible to apply?”, above.  Applicants from the CTECS and Turnaround/Focus school categories who were not selected in those categories will be added to the larger county category random award selection.

A maximum of ten (10) recipients may be from any one school, regardless of award category.

All Award Categories

  • The scholarships must be applied toward any qualified higher education expenses, such as tuition, fees, books and required supplies or equipment at eligible education institutions, which generally include accredited, postsecondary education institutions offering credit toward a bachelor’s degree, associate’s degree,  or another recognized postsecondary credential, including certain proprietary institutions and postsecondary technical and vocational schools and certain institutions in foreign countries.
  • Each recipient will have the opportunity to receive an additional $500 match, for a total award of either $2,523 or $1,750 (depending on award category).  To qualify for the match, recipients must save at least $500 in an individual CHET account by December 31, 2022 (the recipient’s senior year of high school). The family of the recipient is responsible for opening the individual CHET 529 college savings account and contributing at least $500, or if the family already has a CHET account for the recipient student, ensuring that an additional $500 is contributed prior to the deadline.

What are my responsibilities if I am chosen as a recipient?

All recipients must:

  • Maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0, or a C average, throughout high school.
  • Accept their award and submit an Affidavit of Eligibility/Liability Release/Publicity Release form within sixty (60) calendar days of notification
  • Begin their post-secondary education no later than September 30, 2024
  • Complete a disbursement form and provide all supporting documentation when contacted to do so (usually in April of the recipient’s senior year)
  • Deliver the scholarship check to the proper office at their institution
  • Maintain current, accurate contact information on their ISTS Profile page
  • Notify ISTS if the scholarship check does not arrive within 30 days of the issue date

How and when are funds issued?

In the Spring of your senior year of high school, you will be required to log in to your account at https://aim.applyISTS.net, complete the Disbursement Form (which will confirm home address, institution choice and other information) and provide proof of enrollment for the following academic year.

Your funds will be issued via one (1) check in early August. Your check will be made payable to your institution listed on your My Profile page only. Your scholarship check cannot be made payable to you, the applicant. Your check will be mailed to your home address so that you may deliver it to the correct office at your institution. You will receive an email notification once your funds have been issued.


How do I change my college choice?

Make sure your My Profile page indicates your final college choice. It is your responsibility to make sure your My Profile page is correct at least 30 days prior to the check issue date listed above. If your scholarship check needs to be reissued for any reason, a reissue fee may apply.


Notifications

How will I be notified about the status of my application?

Notifications are sent primarily via email to the email you used to create your account. Ultimately, it is your responsibility as the applicant to verify your application status on your Home page is Complete.


What notifications will be sent to me?

  • Deadline Reminders: Deadline reminder emails are typically sent two (2) weeks and one (1) week prior to the application deadline.
  • Selection Results: Selection results notifications are sent to all Complete applicants.
  • Disbursement Instructions: If awarded, you will be sent a notification when it is time to request your award.
  • Funds Disbursed: Once your funds have been issued, you will be notified.
  • Other Scholarships: Occasionally, if you meet the requirements for another scholarship administered by ISTS, you will be notified. These notifications are not guaranteed.

Your information is never sold to any third party for marketing purposes.


Who will notifications be sent from?

You will receive notifications from two (2) possible ISTS email addresses: donotreply@applyISTS.com and ContactUs@applyISTS.com. You should add both email addresses to your “safe senders list” to ensure important emails are not sent to your spam or junk folder.


When will I receive notifications?

Notifications vary by program based on the Program timeline. Refer to the Program timeline listed above for more specific information. Typically, deadline reminders are sent two (2) and one (1) week prior to the application deadline.


Can I opt out of notifications?

While you can opt out of notifications, this is not advised. It is your responsibility as the applicant to ensure your application is Complete. If you opt out of notifications, you will not receive deadline reminders, selection results or disbursement instructions. Your information is never sold to any third party. The only emails you will receive from ISTS are directly related to your application and, possibly, other scholarship opportunities.


Document Upload

Where and when should I send my supporting documents?

All required supporting documents must be uploaded to your online application by the application deadline. If you do not follow the upload instructions exactly, your application may remain incomplete. Documents that meet the criteria required for this application that are uploaded by the deadline will be processed and considered on time.


What should be visible on my documents?

All uploaded documents must show your name. If you are using an online portal to access your required documentation and all that is visible is the salutation and your first name (Example: Welcome Joe!), this will meet the name requirement.


What are the acceptable file types?

The only acceptable file types are .pdf, .tif, .png, .jpeg, .jpg, .bmp and .xps. Any other formats will not be reviewed, and your application will remain incomplete.  You may upload multiple files within a .zip file. All files within a .zip file must be in one of the acceptable file types listed above.


Why can’t I upload a Word document?

ISTS does not accept any file format that is editable.


One of the documents I uploaded has a status of Rejected. What do I do now?

Review the reason your document was rejected. Once you have corrected that issue, upload a new copy of your document.


How do I upload more than one file at a time?

You may create a .zip file containing more than one file as long as everything included is in an acceptable file type of .pdf, .tif, .png, .jpeg, .jpg, .bmp and .xps. Do not upload additional documentation that is not requested. It will not be reviewed.


How do I create a .zip file?

To use this format, follow the steps outlined below:

  • Create a new folder on your Desktop, name it the document type you will be uploading.  For example, Test Scores, Transcript, or Financial Documentation.
  • Move all the files you wish to upload into the new folder.
  • Right click on the folder from your Desktop:
    • PC Users: select “Send to,” followed by “Compressed (zipped) folder.”
    • Mac Users: select “Compress [folder name].”
  • Your new .zip file will be located on your Desktop, ready to upload.

How long does it take to process my uploaded documents?

Documents are processed daily. Your document will be processed within five (5) to seven (7) business days. If your document was uploaded prior to the deadline, it will be considered. However, it is your responsibility to monitor your Home page to ensure your document is Accepted.


The deadline has passed, and my documents are still Processing. What does that mean?

All documents must be reviewed for the required information and for accuracy.  All documents uploaded prior to the application deadline will be reviewed and considered. It is your responsibility to monitor your Home page to ensure your document is Accepted and that your application status reads Complete.


What are the DOs and DON’Ts of uploading documents to my application?

DO:

  • Upload one of the accepted file types.
  • Only upload the requested and required documents.
  • Black out any Social Security Numbers. This is not required, but highly advised.
  • Return to your Home page to verify your documents have been Accepted.

DON’T:

  • Upload a Microsoft® Word document (.doc, .docx) or any other format we don’t accept.
  • Upload more than the requested documentation.
  • Assume your documents are correct and accepted once you have uploaded them.
  • Upload a document stating you are mailing your documents.
  • Assume the required document does not pertain to you. If the application states the document is required, your application will remain incomplete if you do not provide that document. Contact us if you are having trouble providing a required document.
  • Password protect your uploaded documents. Password protected documents will be rejected.
  • Upload any file that has a viewing expiration date.

Application Status

How do I know if my application is Complete?

Complete applications will have a green COMPLETE button, as shown below:

If your application status has a grey or orange STARTED button as shown below, click the button to view the status of each individual requirement.


As the applicant, what are my responsibilities?

It is your responsibility to make sure your application is Complete. Your online application form must be Submitted, and all required documents are uploaded & Accepted.


How do I use my Home page to verify my application status?

When you log in to your Home page, you will see all applications listed. Each application will have an overall status button visible to you.


A grey STARTED button means you have not submitted your online form. An orange STARTED button means you have submitted the online form but you are either missing required items for the application, or your documents are still processing.

When you click the status button, you will see the more detailed status. This will show you the status of each individual required portion of the application. For more details on your Home page, review the Home Page Tutorial section.


The deadline is tomorrow, and it takes 5-7 days to process. Will I make it?

As long as your documents were uploaded prior to the application deadline, they are considered. You should continue to monitor your Home page until you see the status update to ACCEPTED. If the status updates to REJECTED, contact us immediately.


The deadline has passed, and my application status is Started.  What do I do?

If your STARTED button is grey, you have unfortunately missed the deadline and your application is now read only. If your STARTED button is orange, click the button to view what is missing. Your required documents may be PROCESSING.  As long as your documents were uploaded prior to the application deadline, they are considered. You should continue to monitor your Home page until you see the status update to ACCEPTED.  If the status updates to REJECTED, contact us immediately.


Other Important Information

Are scholarships taxable?

Tax laws vary by country. In the United States, scholarship funds used exclusively for the payment of tuition and textbooks are normally not taxable. The scholarship recipient is responsible for taxes, if any, that may be assessed against his or her scholarship award. We recommend consulting your tax adviser for more guidance. You may also consult IRS Publication 970 for additional information.


ISTS Self-Help Portal

For more helpful information about scholarships plus answers to common inquiries related to ISTS’ technology and processes, visit our Self-Help Portal at ISTSprogramsupport.com.


Contact Information

ISTS office hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM Central. Program Support Agents are available via live chat and email during these hours. Use the green Help button (as shown below) at the bottom right corner of your screen to contact us. You can even request a callback!


Home Page Tutorial

Your ISTS Home page is located at https://aim.applyISTS.net. This will show you all your applications and their overall status. It is your responsibility as the applicant to monitor your Home page to ensure your application is Complete.

Help and My Profile
In the top right corner of the page, you’ll find the HELP link to the ISTS Help Portal and your My Profile page.

How to Apply
To start an application, click ADD NEW APPLICATION.  You will then be asked for the Program Key.  If you do not know the Program Key, try the name of the company or organization offering the award.

As the applicant, you will not click FILL OUT A SUPPLEMENT. This will be used only by a third party completing a required supplement form for your application. Not every application requires a supplement. Make sure you review the requirements for each application.


Applications View
Each application will have its own box. You will see the program name, application link, and Status Button.


Application Status Buttons
Each application will have one of the following Status Buttons:

If your status button is grey, it means you have not yet clicked the Submit button on the last page of your application. If your status button is orange, it means you have clicked Submit but you are missing one or more required documents or supplements for that application. 

For a detailed status of each application requirement, click the Status Button.


Detailed Status View
Once you click the Status Button, your detailed status view will appear. Below is an example. Next, we’ll review what each of these statuses mean.


Application Form Section
This top section shows you the date you started the application, application deadline date, status of your form and provides a button to return to your application.


If you have submitted your online application form, the status would read:


Attachments Section
This section allows you to track the status of each required attachment or supporting document(s) for your application.  Not all applications have required attachments. Make sure you review the application requirements for each application.

There are four (4) attachment statuses:

This means you have not yet uploaded this attachment and it is required for your application to be considered Complete.
This means your attachment has been uploaded and is currently pending review by ISTS. Attachments are processed within 5-7 business days. All documents uploaded prior to the application deadline will be considered.
This means the document you uploaded was not acceptable. Below the attachment section is the Rejected Attachment section. This will tell you why your attachment was rejected.
This attachment has been reviewed by ISTS and has been verified as meeting all of the requirements needed for that attachment. 

Rejected Attachments Section
If you have uploaded a document that does not meet the minimum requirements for the application, your document will be rejected. Your attachment status will read:

You will see the attachment type, file name, the reason for rejection and the date/time your document was rejected.

To upload a corrected document, simply click GO TO FORM and upload your document. Make sure you have fixed any of the issues noted in the reason for rejection so that your document is not rejected a second time.

If the application deadline has passed and your application is not Complete because your document was rejected after the application deadline it is important that you contact us immediately so that we can assist you. Most programs allow ISTS to help you correct a rejected document within the 5-7 business day processing time after the deadline. However, this is not guaranteed. Make sure you follow the Upload Instructions within your application to ensure your document meets all minimum criteria.

State Treasurer Shawn T. Wooden, as Trustee of the Connecticut Higher Education Trust (CHET), is the sponsor of the CHET Advance Scholarship.

CHET Advance Scholarship is funded by TIAA Tuition Financing, Inc. and The Hartford, plan managers for CHET Direct-Sold and CHET Advisor-Sold programs respectively; no state funds or CHET account participant fees are used for awards. International Scholarship and Tuition Services, which has more than 25 years of scholarship administration experience, manages the application process with oversight from TIAA and the State Treasurer’s Office.

CHET Advance