Overview of Give Something Back

Q. What is Give Something Back?
Give Something Back, Inc. (Give Back) is a national public charity committed to helping low-income, high-achieving students attain a bachelor’s degree, an associate degree, and/or trade certification(s) while accumulating little to no debt. Give Back prioritizes students who have faced adversity, including those who have experienced foster care, homelessness, or the incarceration of a parent. Give Back is a long-term mentoring and scholarship program that starts when students apply as early as 8th grade and continues throughout high-school and college until the student successfully earns a degree or certification.
Q. When was Give Back founded and what is the timeline for it to be in my state?
The Give Something Back Foundation was founded in 2003 in Illinois. In 2015, Give Back began expanding and is now in 11 states including: New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York, California, Kansas, Washington, Maryland, Connecticut, Florida, and Illinois. In 2016, Give Back became a public charity. Our long-term goal is to expand to all 50 states over the next few years.
Q. Where is Give Back headquartered?
Our national headquarters is located at 902 Carnegie Center, Suite 160, Princeton, NJ 08540.
Q. If Give Back is not in my area, how can I bring it here?

Contact us at info@giveback.ngo to request this information for your state. We can walk you through the steps and partnerships that are needed to begin a Give Back program in your area.

Q. Who does Give Back serve?

Give Back serves low-income, high-achieving students with a primary focus on youth who have experienced foster care, homelessness, or the incarceration of a parent. All Give Back students are required to have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of zero as indicated by completing a financial-aid forecaster similar to FAFSA as a part of the program’s admissions process and maintain a 2.5 GPA. Since inception, we have served over 1,600 students.

Q. What is the model and what are the outcomes of the Give Back program?

Give Back scholars can apply as early as 8th grade. Accepted students are assigned to a mentor who assists them with college preparation through high school and college/trade school. We help students navigate the complex financial aid and scholarship processes when applying to and attending institutions of higher education. We partner with Community Based Organizations (CBOs) for additional support and mentor services. Our outcomes are outstanding with over 90% of high school students remaining in the program and continuing to college and 87% of those graduating from college on time (2 years for associate degrees and 4 years for bachelor’s degrees).

Q. How has the Give Back program changed since it began?

Give Back started by giving low-income, high-performing high school seniors in Illinois $20,000 toward their college education. The program was modified to select middle school students and provide a mentor to help the students through their high school years. We further refined that model to one that awards the promise of a full-ride scholarship to 9th graders who actively participate in Give Back programming, earn a minimum of a 3.0 GPA, and demonstrate good character. The scholarship provides room, board, tuition, and fees. Students participate in mandatory mentorship, events, and programs throughout high school that offer support.

Our plan moving forward is to focus on helping students to first attain an associate degree and/or trade certification(s) before attaining a bachelor’s degree if that is the desire of the student. Additional expenses (e.g. room and board) will be considered and supported on a case-by-case basis. Regardless of the post-secondary track the student chooses, Give Back will strongly encourage and help scholars maintain a 2.5 GPA and demonstrate upstanding character. A 2.5 GPA ensures the student is on track to succeed academically after high school, as well as maintain their eligibility for financial aid.

Q. How is Give Back different from other nonprofits and college readiness programs?

Give Back’s mission is to identify, enroll, and support academically promising students who have the greatest financial need and the lowest statistical likelihood of enrolling in college and achieving a degree or trade certificate. Give Back prioritizes enrollment for students who have experienced foster care, homelessness, and/or the incarceration of a parent. We assist our students through high school and college by providing scholarships so the student can obtain an advanced degree and change their lives for the better, graduate on time, and protect them from burdensome debt.

Q. How can I get involved or support Give Back?

Our greatest needs are for mentors and for CASA/GAL volunteers. Give Back offers the opportunity to participate in virtual mentoring. Caring adults from all 50 states can become virtual mentors, providing long-term support to deserving students. Please apply at: www.giveback.ngo/mentors/

Donations to Give Back can also be made via our website at: www.giveback.ngo/donate/ and through participation in the Chip-In program. Through Chip-in, you can register your credit card and a percentage of your spending can support Give Back or other charities of your choosing. For more information, please visit: https://chip-in.getbeyond.com/

Q. How can I donate to Give Back?

Donations are accepted at: www.giveback.ngo/donate/. If you prefer to send a check, it should be made payable to Give Something Back and mailed to: 902 Carnegie Center, Suite 160, Princeton, NJ 08540.

Q. How can I get my local nonprofit to partner with Give Back?

By becoming a member or supporter of Chip-In.  Please do that via https://chip-in.getbeyond.com/.

Prospective Students and Parents

Q. Am I eligible for Give Back and how do I apply?

There is an application process that any interested students should follow. All scholarship recipients must have an EFC of zero* and maintain a 2.5 GPA. If you fit this qualification, please apply at: www.giveback.ngo/scholars/.

*For reference, “EFC” stands for “Expected Family Contribution.” This is a number determined by the federal government that indicates how much money a student’s parents/guardians are reasonably able to contribute toward paying for the student’s education. To determine a student’s EFC, you can use the FAFSA4caster by visiting: https://fafsa.ed.gov/spa/fafsa4c/?locale=en_US#/landing.

When applying to Give Back, families will be required to complete the Give Back Eligibility Calculator to verify that their EFC is zero.

Q. How can I know if my EFC will be zero before I complete the FAFSA4caster or the GEC?

The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is a measure of how much your family could be reasonably expected to pay toward your education and is calculated according to a formula established by law, which changes from year to year.

Your EFC is not the amount of money your family will have to pay for college nor is it the amount of federal student aid you will receive.

If a dependent students’ family’s income is less than $26,200 for a family of four (based on 2020 poverty level chart), and government assistance was needed for that filing year, the EFC will automatically be zero. A zero means a family has no reasonable ability to contribute monetarily to the student’s education. These calculations change every year, however. Please see this chart for more information.

If you are an independent student, you may also have an EFC of zero. Please review this chart to determine if you can file as an independent student.

EFC is calculated from answers on the FAFSA, typically income is the most important factor. If other members of your household are projected to attend college at the same time, that will also lower a student’s EFC.

Unusual circumstances can also lower your EFC – loss of employment, loss of child support, divorce, death, or medical expenses not covered by insurance can all have an impact.

Be sure to answer all applicable questions on your FAFSA, even if they don’t seem relevant to your situation; this is crucial in determining an accurate EFC.

Q. When do I apply for the Give Back program?

We accept applications for students starting in the 8th grade and later. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, but the deadline to be included in the upcoming fall cohort is in the spring. Applicants may be contacted for an interview, and selected students will be notified by the end of spring so they may begin working with their mentor over the summer.

Q. Is there a GPA requirement?

All Give Back scholars should strive to maintain a GPA of 2.5 or higher or the equivalent in trade school program requirements. This is to ensure they are on track for academic success after high school and are able to maintain their financial aid eligibility.

Q. What types of support will I receive in high school?

In addition to the support you receive from your school, you will receive mentoring and tutoring where needed. The goal is to ensure student success in post-secondary education through preparation during high school.

Q. Is a scholarship included in this program?

Yes, scholarships are provided for students attending community college or trade school if the state and federal aid does not cover all the needs for tuition and fees. Room and board costs are not guaranteed. Books and other expenses are not covered.

Q. Can I attend a 4-year university?

Our students are required to start college in a trade or associate degree program. Exceptions can be granted in special circumstances.

Q. Is there an internship component or requirement for this program?

Give Back will use its best efforts to help our students obtain part-time jobs (only for students 16 and above) or internships where applicable. An internship is not a requirement to participate in the program.

Prospective ProStart Students

What is the partnership with Give Back and ProStart?

In select states Give Back partners with ProStart by encouraging Give Back students interested in hospitality careers to participate in the ProStart program (offered in certain high schools). Typical mentorship will also include helping students find part-time jobs working in restaurants while in school. This is a great opportunity to obtain dual high school and college credit while learning about food safety, culinary, management, and other skills needed to work in a restaurant.

What are the benefits of being a student in Give Back and ProStart, particularly in a hospitality career?

Due to this specialized educational offering, our students will have an advantage over other students seeking employment in restaurants and hotels. There is also an opportunity to partner with trade schools and community colleges that will offer dual enrollment credits for students who participate.

Does Give Back offer scholarships for ProStart competitions, trade schools, or colleges?

Give Back does offer scholarships for ProStart competitions. We also offer scholarships for trade schools and community colleges. Give Back will consider scholarships to “fill the gap” of what federal and state grants do not cover. Moving forward we do not guarantee paying for room and board. Instead, we will help students navigate financial aid and university scholarship applications that can alleviate much of the cost of higher education.

How do I remain in good standing in the Give Back program?

Students must take a college prep or trade prep curriculum and should strive to maintain a B average (2.5 GPA or greater) throughout high school while participating in Give Back activities. A 2.5 GPA helps ensure the student is on track for academic success after high school and will help them maintain their eligibility for financial aid. Students must also meet with their mentor regularly to ensure they are meeting the academic benchmarks needed to achieve their post-secondary goals.

Is the program limited to certain career paths?

No. We have a specific focus on students interested in the hospitality industry and cyber security industry, but all qualified students are invited to apply.

What happens if I am a Give Back scholar and leave ProStart?

There are no penalties if a Give Back student begins and leaves the ProStart program other than any applicable policies at the student’s high school.