In the News

EDMOND — The University of Central Oklahoma has received a seven-year, $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Matching funds will more than double the amount, UCO officials said.

The federal grant comes from the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education.

The GEAR UP grant will be matched by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, the Oklahoma Council on Economic Education, MidFirst Bank and UCO for a total budget of $11.4 million over the seven years, UCO President Don Betz announced Thursday.

The funds will serve 899 low-income students from high-poverty, low-performing urban middle and high schools in four school districts in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area.

“As Oklahoma’s metropolitan university, Central takes seriously the responsibility to make higher education more accessible to the state’s students. GEAR UP Central will provide the necessary support for students and families who might not be aware of the resources available for college preparation,” Betz said in a news release.

GEAR UP Central students will receive academic counseling and tutoring, intensive college entrance exam preparation, mentoring, concurrent enrollment opportunities, application and admissions workshops, campus visits, Oklahoma’s Promise workshops and application assistance, financial aid and financial literacy workshops.

“The goal of the GEAR UP Central program is to build systematic change within the target schools, creating a culture transformation that will lead to greater amounts of college-going students who are better prepared for postsecondary education,” Myron Pope, vice president for student affairs, said in the release.

GEAR UP Central will serve students from Millwood Elementary School, Millwood High School, Del Crest Middle School, Kerr Middle School, Jarman Middle School, Monroney Middle School, Del City High School, Midwest City High School, Crutcho Elementary School, Western Heights Middle School and Western Heights High School.