The Education Dept. distributes $8 million under the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Program (GEAR UP) (CFDA Number: 84.334) that will help increase the number of low-income junior and senior high school students who are prepared for college.
“The GEAR UP grants enable organizations to support youth early in the process to help them attend college,” said Education Secy. Arne Duncan. “They will help provide mentoring, support and financial aid to help at-risk students succeed in college.”
GEAR UP programs serve students beginning no later than the seventh grade and follow the cohort through high school. GEAR UP funds are also used to provide college scholarships to low-income students. This year’s grants will help serve an additional 9,000 students. This year two types of grants were awarded: $5,282,840 for three partnership grants in Utah, New York and California, and $2,706,452 in a state grant to Kansas.
GEAR UP offers state and partnership grants. State grants are competitive six or seven-year matching grants that must include both an early intervention component designed to increase college attendance and success and raise the expectations of low-income students and a scholarship component. Partnership grants are competitive six or seven-year matching grants that must support an early intervention component and may support a scholarship component designed to increase college attendance and success and raise the expectations of low-income students.
Winners this year:
- Utah State University, which partnered with eight rural school districts, three charter schools and community/business organizations, will receive $2.7 million to address the needs of low-income and at-risk students in small, rural communities in northern Utah. They will serve almost 2,958 students from middle school through their first year in college.
- California State University, Fullerton, will receive $1.1 million to serve 1,406 7th grade students beginning at South and Sycamore Junior High Schools onto Anaheim and Katella High Schools and onto their first-year of college. The students at the target schools are predominately Latino, low-income and potentially first-generation college students. The project will work in collaboration with the schools in the Anaheim Union High School District.
- Bronx Institute of Lehman College, City University of New York will receive $1.8 million to serve 2,250 students in seven Bronx public schools. The large majority of students in these schools come from low-income households, with rates of eligibility for free and reduced lunch ranging from 80-95%. Overall, 23% of the students in the targeted schools are English Language Learners and 19% receive Special Education services. The challenges that the Bronx GEAR UP Network will address reflect deeply entrenched patterns of under-achievement, low expectations, and limited understanding of how to access postsecondary options among the target population of students and their families.
- Wichita State University, will launch “Kansas Kids @ GEAR UP (KKGU),” to benefit students in foster care. It will establish outcome objectives, provide services to meet the objectives, evaluate the success of the services, and provide success stories on low-income students and students in the state foster care system. The KKGU will serve 2,500 students annually throughout the state of Kansas.
Both state and partnerships grants target entire grades of students. GEAR UP is also funding 123 continuation projects begun in the last five years that are providing these comprehensive support services to approximately 551,000 middle and high school students. Since 1999, GEAR UP has provided over $4.8 billion and enabled more than 12 million students, coast to coast, to succeed in higher education.