The U.S Department of Education awarded a total of $4.45 million to Auburn University’s Office of the Vice President for University Outreach as a part of two federal grants awarded to Alabama.
The grants are a part of the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Program and will be administered to University Outreach’s K-12 and college access department.
GEAR UP is designed to increase college attendance and to raise the expectations of scholarship in low-income families. The program is a partnership between Auburn University, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, The University of Alabama and the Black Belt Community Foundation.
“The federal government gave two GEAR UP grants in the state of Alabama and Auburn is lead partners on both of those grants,” said Stacey Nickson, director of K-12 outreach.
The first grant was awarded to the state of Alabama and will be used to benefit students in the Black Belt by helping schools better prepare students for college.
The University will use the money to provide a summer college preparation program for 11th and 12th grade students.
“We are going to make sure that 10,000 students out in that part of the state will come to the campuses of Auburn University and the other institutions to participate in programming that will help prepare them for college,” said Royrickers Cook, assistant vice president of University Outreach.
This program is designed to give students a better understanding of what is required of them in college and to give them a head start on beginning to think about their educational future.
The second grant was awarded to Birmingham City Schools and their partners. The University works with sixth and seventh grade students from the Birmingham area to provide tutoring thorough their first year of college.
These grants hold the possibility to change the future of Alabama education.
“Bring responsible for University Outreach is making sure that Auburn University is working with communities and external groups to make sure we improve the quality of life in Alabamians,” Cook said.
The University, its students and the city of Auburn will all benefit from this grant.
“We don’t just help local kids, we help all over the State of Alabama,” Nickson said. “But by securing federal dollars to help those parts of Alabama, it frees up more money within our department to keep helping our local kids.”
Through the grants, Auburn University students have the opportunity to gain work experience and improve the future of the state.
“Many of the Auburn University students will be hired to participate as rolls of counselors or mentors and working with the students when they arrive on the campus,” Cook said.
Auburn students will be working students not much younger than them in hopes to impact their own generation.
“Our students are going to be working with kids that are maybe 5 years younger than themselves,” Nickson said. “But this is an opportunity to extend the hand to help shake the educational reality for thousands of kids.”
Source: The Auburn Plainsman
Source: The Auburn Plainsman