STEP-UP Application Process & Deadlines

How to Apply

  1. Create an account If you are eligible to participate in the STEP-UP program, create an account through the Student Portal. Confirm your eligibility by checking the Eligibility Requirements.
  2. Submit an application All applications must be submitted through the Student Portal prior to the submission deadline.
  3. Submit required documents View the Required Documents Check List for a list of documents that need to be submitted in order to complete your application.

Status and Review Process

Your application status can be found online when you log in to the Student Portal. It is recommended that you check your application status weekly.

STEP-UP program staff will only review completed applications. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

  • If your application is incomplete, you will receive an email instructing you to check your application. Log in to the Student Portal to find out which components are missing and submit the missing documents prior to the deadline.
  • Completed applications will be reviewed by STEP-UP staff. While staff are reviewing your application, your status will read ‘review in progress.’ Once the review is complete, the status will change to ‘reviewed.’

Application Deadlines

Undergraduate: February 1

High School: February 15

All applications and supporting documents must be received by 11:59 p.m. EST.

After the respective deadline applicants will not be able to submit an application.

Notification of Acceptance

Notifications of acceptance into STEP-UP will be sent via email, starting March 15, and will continue until all available spots are filled.

Acceptance of Award

If offered a STEP-UP award, within one week of notification, you must confirm your acceptance and send the following to your coordinating center:

  • Proof of existing medical insurance. If you do not have medical insurance, you will need to obtain it and show proof prior to the start of the program. Exceptions will be made for students residing in the following U.S. territories: Marshall Island, American Samoa, Federated States of Micronesia, Saipan, and Guam.
  • A copy of your U.S. passport, U.S. birth certificate, or a government-issued photo identification document.


Application Procedure

Is there a deadline for submission of applications?

Yes, the application deadline is February 15, 2022 for high school applications and February 1, 2022 for undergraduate applications. Note: Partial applications that are not completed by the deadline will not receive further consideration. The STEP-UP application is available online from October 15, 2021 through the respective end dates.

Can I update my application from last year?

No. You will need to reapply and request new letters from your references.

How late will you accept applications?

All applications and supporting documents must be received by 11:59 p.m. EST on February 15, 2022 for high school applications and 11:59 p.m. EST on February 1, 2022 for undergraduate applications. After the respective deadlines applicants will not be able to submit an application.

Is there a deadline for receipt of my reference letters?

All letters of reference must be uploaded to the Student Portal by the respective deadlines.

Will you accept hard (paper) copies of reference letters?

No. Hard (paper) copies of letters will not be accepted. Reference letters must be submitted electronically through the Student Portal.

How do I submit my transcript?

All students must upload an unofficial or official transcript through the online application system on or before the application deadlines.

Does my transcript have to include my fall grades?

Yes. Transcripts must reflect all earned credits and grades through December.

If I do not have access to the Internet, how can I apply?

The STEP-UP application is web based and not available in paper form. Visit your local library or ask if your school has a computer that you can use.

After Applying

How often should I check the status of my application?

You should check the status of your application at least once a week until it has been marked “Complete” or “Review in Progress.” You can check the status of your application in the Student Portal by viewing the “Status” column under the “My Applications” tab.

How will I know if my application is complete?

Applications are reviewed by the STEP-UP staff. If your application has been deemed complete, the status of your application will read “Complete.”

How will I know if my application has been submitted to the review committee?

After your application is marked “Complete,” STEP-UP staff will review it and send it to the review committee. Once your application is sent to the review committee, the status of your application will read “Review in Progress.” Once the review is completed, the status of your application will be changed to “Reviewed.”

My application is “incomplete” what does this mean?

If your application is marked “Incomplete” it means that we have not received your transcript and/or letters of recommendation. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed. Contact STEP-UP staff if you believe your application is marked “Incomplete” in error.

How will I be notified if I am selected?

You will be notified by NIDDK STEP via email. Ensure that messages from the application system are not going into your spam folder.

When will I hear whether I am accepted into STEP-UP?

The NIDDK STEP-UP Director will begin notifying applicants of acceptance into the STEP-UP program by email on March 15. This will continue until all available spots are filled. Accepted applicants will be required to confirm their participation within one week of notification.

Who do I contact if I have any questions regarding the STEP-UP Program?


Still have a question? Contact the STEP-UP team