New GEAR UP Grants Awarded to Help Prepare Students for Success in College

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New GEAR UP Grants Awarded to Help Prepare Students for Success in College

U.S. Department of Education Awards Grants Totaling Nearly $8 Million in State and Partnership Grants
August 27, 2015

The U.S. Department of Education has announced grant awards totaling nearly $8 million under the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Program (GEAR UP) that will help increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education.

“The GEAR UP grants enable organizations to support youth early in the process to help them attend college,” said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “They will help provide mentoring, support, and financial aid to help at-risk students succeed in college, and make their mark in today’s global economy.”

GEAR UP grantees serve an entire cohort of 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.

Two types of grants are being 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.

Both state and partnerships grants target entire grades of students, partner with local organizations and businesses, and include matching local contributions and in-kind services.

In addition, 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.

2015 GEAR Up Grantees:

  • Utah State University, which partnered with eight rural school districts, three charter schools and community/business organizations, will receive $2,706,452 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 $1,116,440 to serve the 7th grade cohort of 1,406 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, partners from higher education institutions, businesses, and the community to foster a college-going culture and systematic change that will last beyond the life of the grant.

  • Research Foundation of CUNY on behalf of Lehman College, the Bronx GEAR UP Network is a project of the Bronx Institute of Lehman College, City University of New York, and will receive $1,800,000 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 percent. Overall, 23 percent of the students in the targeted schools are English Language Learners and 19 percent 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, was designated by Kansas Governor Sam Brownback as the lead institution, to implement the “Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP)” project entitled, “Kansas Kids @ GEAR UP (KKGU).” The project has been in existence for 12 years, provides early intervention services and scholarships to individuals in foster care as “priority students.” The State of Kansas with the assistance of Wichita State University 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.