History and Purpose

In 1999, The American Council on Education (ACE) incubated the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships for a six-month period, providing computer equipment, support services, and Internet and email access. Hector Garza was granted a two-year leave from ACE to serve as founding president of NCCEP. NCCEP was incorporated August 11, 1999 and on November 23, 1999, the Internal Revenue Service provided NCCEP an advance ruling on its request to be exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. For more on NCCEP’s mission and vision, click here.

In NCCEP’s genesis and development, foundation partners were instrumental in resourcing NCCEP’s leadership in the GEAR UP and broader college access movement. NCCEP is especially grateful to the Ford Foundation, W. K. Kellogg Foundation, AT&T Foundation, Kresge Foundation, Lumina Foundation, GE Foundation, James Irvine Foundation and USA Funds for its philanthropic leadership over the past decade.

Technical Assistance and Training
NCCEP is the Department of Education-designated technical assistance and training provider for the state and partnership grantees who receive GEAR UP federal funds. In 1999, with support from The Ford Foundation and in collaboration with the National Center for Urban Partnerships and the U.S. Department of Education, NCCEP began this work by sponsoring a series of pre-application technical assistance workshops to guide potential GEAR UP grantees in the design of successful GEAR UP applications and the development of effective partnerships.

The first national NCCEP/GEAR UP conference was held October 29–31, 2000, with more than 600 attendees and 57 concurrent sessions. The NCCEP/GEAR UP Annual Conference, now held each summer, alternate between Washington, DC and San Francisco, CA, and has drawn as many as 2100 attendees.  Attendees hear from national leaders and topic experts during general sessions, then select from more than 100 concurrent learning sessions led by GEAR UP practitioners and community partners.

In 2003, NCCEP launched the first annual winter Capacity-Building Workshop for 575 attendees to provide support in planning and coordinating intervention strategies to help meet GEAR UP program goals. NCCEP’s Capacity Building workshops rotate around the country as many as 1300 attendees. For more on NCCEP conference and training opportunities, click here.

NCCEP serves as the voice of the GEAR UP community in Washington, DC and coordinates national grassroots efforts to educate Members of Congress, the White House and governmental officials about GEAR UP programming and funding. Since 1999, NCCEP has mobilized the GEAR UP constituency and congressional supporters in an effort to increase GEAR UP funding. In 2005, NCCEP put together a communication and advocacy effort with the GEAR UP constituency that prevented GEAR UP funding from being zeroed out and resulted in an appropriation increase to $200 million. NCCEP has been able to assist parents, students and educators in making sure their voices are heard in Washington. Seeing the impact of GEAR UP in their local communities, federal lawmakers have increased or sustained GEAR UP’s funding, now at $302 million annually. For more on advocacy opportunities, click here.

National Programs
NCCEP takes seriously its charge to provide resources for the national GEAR UP movement. New programs are continuously developed to meet the changing needs of GEAR UP, and deepen the engagement of GEAR UP stakeholders. NCCEP’s current program initiatives include: the Superintendent Leadership Institute (SLI), the Youth Congress, the College Savings Accounts Technical Assistance Project, GEAR UP Alumni Leadership Institute, and the College and Career Readiness Evaluation Consortium (CCREC). NCCEP also offers two multi-media college access curriculums, Exito Escolar and 16 Summers, for purchase and use by GEAR UP programs. For more on NCCEP national programs, click here.

Accountability for the wise use of federal tax dollars, and commitment to improving the outcomes of GEAR UP students requires that GEAR UP be able to demonstrate its effectiveness in increasing high school graduation rates, and postsecondary education enrollment, persistence and completion. NCCEP is proud to be the managing partner of the College and Career Readiness Evaluation Consortium (CCREC), a collaboration of 15 GEAR UP state grantees who have come together voluntarily to adopt common service definitions and data collection methodologies in order to effectively evaluate GEAR UP across grantees.  In this role, NCCEP supports a Director of Evaluation who directs the work of CCREC, collaborates with the participating states, and ensures completion of project deliverables. For more on NCCEP evaluation, click here.  

GEAR UP Program Locator

Are GEAR UP services available in your state or region? You can find out by clicking on this interactive map. Here you will find where GEAR UP programs currently serve students, the size of their grants, how many students they serve and a link to their website for more information.