GEAR UP in the News

The Cedar Hill Independent School District is pumped about a big grant — $6.3 million is now headed to the district. The $6.3 million federal grant will pay for a program called GEAR UP.

Nearly 1,300 students at Bessie Coleman and W. S. Permenter Middle Schools will benefit from the grant. It will help sixth and seventh graders with college and career readiness, according to Jamie Brown, a district spokeswoman.

At Grand Valley State University in Michigan, a new Pathways to College Office just opened, where the GEAR UP program and another college readiness program will be housed. This article highlights the impact GEAR UP has had on students, including GEAR UP alumni who now attend the institution, and the aim to continue to impact students as they move through middle and high school.

As part of the Eastern Oklahoma State College GEAR UP grant, thirty-two teachers became the first in the nation to receive newly-released technology and training on the Texas Instruments’ TI–Innovator™ Rover. This new technology is a tool that teachers can use to drive student interest and curiosity in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.

Ikie Brooks, a West Virginia GEAR UP alumni and member of the 2016-2017 GEAR UP Alumni Leadership Academy, attended the inaugural Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago, Illinois. Ikie joined civic leaders from around the world to address societal issues and share advice on cultural diversity. Over the summer, Ikie participated in the Beating the Odds roadtrip, and this was another opportunity to engage with leaders about opening pathways for underserved students.

University of Kansas researchers have secured a grant for more than $18 million that will allow them to provide seven years of support to more than 3,000 middle school students with disadvantaged backgrounds in Kansas City, Kansas. The grant's goal is to ensure they acquire the skills needed to graduate from high school and pursue higher education.

The Department of Education awarded $2.6 million a year for seven years to the Center for Educational Opportunity Programs within KU’s Achievement & Assessment Institute to implement a program called Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs. GEAR UP will employ hands-on tactics to support 3,328 Kansas City Kansas Public Schools students, currently in sixth and seventh grades, and follow them through their first year of college. The program provides academic support, mentoring and guidance to help students from disadvantaged backgrounds, first-generation college students and underserved populations reach a higher education institution that meets their needs.

Wichita State University will continue to offer a college-prep program for middle school students in the Wichita school district for at least seven more years.

WSU received grants worth $9.8 million for the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP).

About 1,850 7th-grade students at nine middle schools will receive support throughout middle and high school, and into their first year of college.

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Eastern Oklahoma State College a $17 million federal GEAR UP grant that will help more than 3,000 area students prepare for and succeed in postsecondary education. The grant is the largest in Eastern’s history and the college’s third consecutive, multi-year GEAR UP partnership grant award.

GEAR UP students in Bibb County, Georgia, took the PSAT and SAT last week. Thanks to GEAR UP, the cost was waived for students taking tests and they were able to take tests during the school day, resulting in a high number of test-takers.

In Maryland, the Maryland College Application Campaign (MCAC) took place in October. State agencies who sponsor the MCAC partnered closely with GEAR UP staff to help students apply for college, and will continue to work together to raise student and family awareness and knowledge about college through next March, with College Decision Day events to follow in May.

Washington State University Tri-Cities recently received a $11.7 million seven-year GEAR UP grant to prepare students in low-income schools to enter and succeed in post-secondary education.

This award marks the eighth U.S. Department of Education GEAR UP grant received by WSU Tri-Cities since 2002. These awards have helped the university serve more than 30,000 students in middle and high schools in southeastern Washington. Total GEAR UP grant funds received by WSU Tri-Cities now total more than $123 million.

In Georgia, Thomas University GEAR UP is partnering with local organizations to help bring books to students at Eden Park Elementary, a school impacted by Hurricane Irma. Additionally, Peace Leadership Class students will become pen pals with students at the elementary school, and books will be used to connect pals and develop cultural communication.

The Educational Partnership Center at UC Santa Cruz has been awarded $10.5 million over seven years to help middle and high school students in south Monterey County prepare for college.

The EPC’s “Paving a Path for a College-Going Generation” project plans to serve 1,930 at-risk, underrepresented students in the predominantly agricultural towns of Gonzales, Greenfield, Soledad, and King City. The U.S. Department of Education received 122 partnership applications and awarded 24 partnership grants nationwide.

The GEAR UP funding continues the Educational Partnership Center’s focus on improving high school graduation and college-enrollment and attainment rates for low-income, first-generation college students across the Monterey Bay and Silicon Valley/San Jose regions, said EPC Executive Director Maria Rocha-Ruiz.

About 1,400 GEAR UP students in West Virginia recently heard from Molly Kennedy, a motivational speaker, at an event in Charleston. At the same event, ten $1,000 scholarships were awarded to West Virginia GEAR UP students, in partnership with Fairmont State University. Higher Education Chancellor, Dr. Paul Hill, shared that counties that participate in GEAR UP have seen an increase in college-going rates that is now on par with the state average.

In Alabama, news anchor Jeff Sanders visited GEAR UP students during GEAR UP Week. Tenth graders at Pike County High School, Sanders' alma mater, celebrated GEAR UP Week with a series of events, including hearing from Sanders about his story. He was the first in his family to go to college and he pursued broadcast journalism, leading him to a career in which he is able to experience something new every day and share stories worth telling.

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley $21.2 million over the next seven years, to operate the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP).

As part of the grant, UTRGV, Valley school districts and community partners will match the U.S. Department of Education’s funding, providing more than $42 million to benefit students in the Rio Grande Valley.