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Greater Steps Scholars

Greater Steps Scholars — formerly known as the Charlotte Housing Authority Scholarship Fund — was established in 1983 by the INLIVIAN Board of Commissioners and founded by Dr. John T. Crawford, a former INLIVIAN Youth Services Coordinator. Crawford had been approached by a young INLIVIAN resident who needed $300 to return to college for his senior year. He and a friend pooled their resources and helped the student with the funds — and in doing so, realized there were many other students who lived in subsidized housing with the same limited financial resources.

The mission of Greater Steps Scholars has remained the same throughout its history — to provide every child living in subsidized housing an opportunity for and expectation of a college education. The program considers the entire picture of what a Scholar needs to succeed — one-on-one coaching, mentorship, educational workshops, and access to potential career opportunities in addition to financial assistance.

Greater Steps Scholars (GSS) is operated as an endowment fund through the Foundation for the Carolinas, in a working partnership with INLIVIAN. The program is an independent non-profit organization that relies on private donations from individuals, businesses, churches, foundations, and other groups for the Scholars’ educational scholarships, and does not receive government funding.

Since its inception, Greater Steps has awarded nearly 965 scholarships totaling $4 million. As of 2021, there are 306 GSS Alumni — students who have successfully graduated from college or vocational programs.

If young people have a desire to achieve, they should have the opportunity to do so, regardless of their financial means. When there’s an opportunity for education, there are opportunities for freedom, hope, confidence, and transforming one’s life for the better.

For more information on Greater Steps Scholars, please visit


Jonathan Nettles 
Youth Services Program Manager
(980) 297-0058

Greater Steps Scholars FAQs

When should I start the scholarship application process?

We encourage students to start the application process as early as 9th grade.

What is the first thing I should do to apply for a scholarship?

Schedule your initial interview with Youth Services Program Manager Millard McCluney by email or at 704-336-5782 and find out if you are eligible.

What if I am not interested in college planning with INLIVIAN?

We still encourage you to contact Mr. McCluney before you start the application process for your initial interview.

What makes me eligible for the Greater Steps Scholars program?

All Greater Steps Scholars applicants must meet the following criteria:

Be a resident of public housing owned or managed by INLIVIAN (including the Housing Choice Voucher program) and be named as an occupant in the current lease for at least one year prior to the scholarship application deadline.

Applicants attending college, vocational or technical school for the first time must not be over 21 years of age as of September 1 of the school year for which the scholarship award is to be made. Applicants already attending or who have previously attended a college, vocational or technical school must not be over 24 years of age as of September 1 of the school year for which the scholarship award is to be made.

What information do I need before I start the online application?

We encourage students to start the application process as early as 9th grade.

A resume will be needed for the application process.

How do I apply for federal student aid?

You can apply to the  Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) for financial aid for college or graduate school by following the steps below:

  • Go to
  • Click on “Start Here” or “Login” for returning users
  • Login with your Name, SSN and Date of Birth.
  • Click on the “View Processed Information (PDF Version)”.
  • Enter your PIN.
  • Download the file called “FAFSA”. This is your  Student Aid Report(SAR) report.
  • Save the document as a PDF file.
  • Upload the PDF file to your online application under “Financial Information” icon.
  • Cost of Attendance for the college(s) you are applying. For more information, please contact the Office of Financial Aid of the college(s) you are applying
  • Reference Form – Names and email addresses of a teacher who knows you best and a non-school and non-related adult who has worked with you in a supervisory relationship. We strongly encourage you to make personal contact with all references prior to submitting his or her name on your online application. You will need to enter their information under the “Request” section of the application.
  • Prepare a list of extracurricular activities, community service, honors, awards, leadership and employment history. You will need to be prepared to input dates and descriptions. Please do not use abbreviations.
  • Personal Statement in which you develop your position on all of the topics below (Your online session will time-out so be sure to prepare your responses in Microsoft Word first, then copy and paste into the appropriate section in Community Force.):
  • Describe what your life’s goals and objectives are and how obtaining additional education or a college degree will further these goals and objectives.
  • Explain what qualifies you for this scholarship.
  • Describe your financial need for scholarship assistance.

*Both students and parents should apply for an FSA ID if you haven’t already.

FAFSA’s application will open in December 2023 for 2024-2025 school year and the Student Aid report is necessary to complete the GSS application. 


Being involved in these programs, camps and teams keeps our youth active and engaged, while helping them learn lifelong skills and lessons.