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The application program will be available again in late April. Please return then to view the updated Eligibility and Awards for the next academic year! If you are an applicant who would like to discover more scholarship opportunities you might qualify for, please continue to the Scholarship America Hub and sign up!

The Barry Griswell Scholarship Initiative to Raise the Bar for Students
Application status: Closed

Barry Griswell, a former Scholarship America Board Chair, was a passionate, lifelong advocate for students. He was dedicated to helping underserved young people overcome difficult circumstances—and that dedication was inspired by his own experiences.

The Barry Griswell Scholarship Initiative to Raise the Bar for Students is a unique program established to award scholarships in Barry’s name—and surround the students with the support they need to be successful.

The Raise the Bar initiative provides an opportunity to create more impact. These scholars will be able to count on financial, cultural and social support from Scholarship America – and they’ll be able to count on each other for inspiration and connection.

Griswell believed in helping others to learn and grow. “My advice is to never see yourself as a person with limits. If you do, then let mentors help you to go beyond those limits. Be open to the idea that you can achieve great things if you want to. Find your true potential and move toward it. That’s a great philosophy. I have lived my life with an attitude of taking responsibility, being accountable for what I do, and doing the right thing.”

Applicants to the Barry Griswell Scholarship Initiative to Raise the Bar for Students must meet all of the following criteria as of the application deadline date:

  • Have a high school diploma/GED, or be a high school senior, or be a current college undergraduate student
    • If high school senior or current college undergraduate student, must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale (or equivalent)
  • Be United States (U.S.) citizens, U.S. permanent residents (holders of a Permanent Resident Card), or individuals granted deferred action status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA)
  • Plan to enroll in full-time undergraduate study at an accredited two- or four-year college, university or vocational-technical school in the U.S. for the entire upcoming academic year
  • Be pursuing a first associate’s or first bachelor’s degree


If selected as a recipient, the student will receive a $25,000 award. The number of awards will be determined each scholarship program year based on available funds; up to ten (10) awards will be granted.

Assuming there are qualified applicants, one (1) student must be a resident of Des Moines, IA per restricted gift from a donor. If there are not qualified applicants from Des Moines, IA, one award should be granted to a student from somewhere else in the state of Iowa.

Awards can be used for all education-related expenses.

Awards are renewable up to four (4) additional years or until a first associate or bachelor’s degree is earned, whichever occurs first, on the basis of full-time enrollment and satisfactory academic performance. Recipients may transfer from an associate’s degree path to a bachelor’s degree path and continue to renew the award.

Awards are for undergraduate study only.

Selection of Recipients

Scholarship recipients are selected on the basis of:

  • Financial need
  • Demonstrated leadership and participation in school and community activities
  • Work experience
  • Being a first-generation student
  • Response to an overcoming obstacles essay
  • Home responsibilities
  • A short statement.

Financial need, as calculated by Scholarship America, must be demonstrated for the student to receive an award.

Scholarship America will select up to twenty-five (25) finalists. An external selection committee will select recipients. Not all applicants to the program will be selected as recipients. Students may reapply to the program each year they meet eligibility requirements. Previous recipients are not eligible to reapply. All applicants agree to accept the decision as final.

Financial Literacy Support

Award recipients will be given access for a year to WhichWay, a financial literacy tool with interactive financial education modules containing tools and tips that include the following topics:

  • Understanding Basics of Budgeting
  • Achieving Goals
  • Creating and Maintaining a Budget
  • Paying for College
  • Understanding Credit
  • Obtaining Credit
  • Applying for Financial Aid
  • Managing Credit Cards
  • Managing Student Loans While in School
  • Managing Debt
  • Repaying Student Loans

Participation in Scholarship America’s financial literacy tool, WhichWay is offered to scholarship recipients. Recipients will be invited to register online to participate in financial education activities to help guide a student to financial stability and success.


All applicants will be notified in mid-July.

Payment of Scholarships

Payment is made in early August.

As part of your application, you must upload the following:

  • A current, complete transcript of grades. Grade reports are not accepted. Transcripts must display student name, school name, grades and credit hours for each course and term in which each course was taken.
  • Copy of the first two pages of the most recently filed IRS Form 1040 used for the Financial Information Page. Please black out all social security numbers and bank account information.
    Applicants who are dependent* children must upload their parent’s most recently filed IRS 1040 tax form.
    • Financially independent applicants (those that will file their own federal tax form and will not be claimed as a dependent by any other individual) are required to upload their own most recently filed IRS 1040 tax form.

Your application is not complete unless all required materials are submitted electronically.

Selecting the button below will redirect you to the Scholarship America Student Hub!