By Sean Sandefur
Wichita State University will launch a new college readiness program in local public schools next week. It’s expected to include close to 2,000 students.
Wichita State University received a grant last year of over $10 million to start two Gear Up programs in the Wichita area. Gear Up stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs. The initiative will start with current seventh graders, and mentor them through their freshman year of college. Riccardo Harris is executive director of Gear Up North.
“We identified the schools that had the higher population of students who were receiving free and reduced lunch,” he says. “These schools have the higher need.”
These seventh graders will eventually attend either Wichita’s North, South, West or Southeast High Schools. Harris says many of the students they’ve chosen for the program believe they either can’t afford or aren’t smart enough for college. By mentoring, tutoring, and implementing summer programs and Saturday workshops, Harris says Gear Up can help these students realize their potential.