Welcome to the NCCEP newsroom!  Click on the links below to read the latest news from NCCEP and GEAR UP. 

Adriana Badillo, project director for GEAR UP: $1,116,440 in second-year funding from the U.S. Department of Education for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Program, or GEAR UP-Anaheim program, which follows students from Sycamore and South junior high schools from 7th grade through high school. Badillo also was awarded $969,860 in the last year of a six-year U.S. Department of Education grant in support of the CSUF GEAR UP program, which works with students from Dale and Orangeview junior high schools. Related story: Local High School Students GEAR UP for College.

Person High School held the annual Carolinas Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Office (CACRAO) college fair on Sept. 20 in the auxiliary gym.

The fair provides seniors and juniors the opportunity to stop at different booths and speak with college representatives and get information about the colleges that interest them.

There were a total of 68 colleges from along the east coast. Colleges from North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island were represented.

Representatives from each school handed out informational pamphlets and brochures to help students understand what their universities offer as well as their undergraduate expectations.

Kelly Woody, Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) coordinator, scheduled the CACRAO college fair.

A graduate of the Yale-Bridgeport GEAR UP Partnership Project has been chosen for the highly competitive GEAR UP Alumni Leadership Academy (GUALA), Class of 2017.

Saul Almazan lives in Bridgeport, and is a 2014 graduate of Central Magnet High School in the city. While in high school he was part of Yale-Bridgeport GEAR UP, a partnership between the Yale Department of Psychiatry and Bridgeport Public Schools. The program is directed by Nadia Ward, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry.

GEAR UP, or Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, is a federally funded program that provides services to help increase the number of students who are prepared for and succeed in higher education. The program serves approximately 570,000 students in low-income schools across 43 states and one territory.

Yale-Bridgeport GEAR UP’s region serves over 1,000 high school seniors. The students have participated in the program since they were in seventh-grade in 2011-12.

The National Council for Community and Education Partnerships created the GUALA program to better support the GEAR UP mission nationwide. GUALA works to advance college and career readiness in communities by providing 12 months of training for alumni leaders on topics related to peer-to-peer outreach and mentoring, social media engagement, public speaking, and education policy.

Almazan, a junior psychology major at the University of Bridgeport, was one of 24 applicants selected from a nationwide pool to participate in GUALA. He traveled to Washington, D.C., in July for a week of leadership training.

The Gary School Corp. is one of 11 school districts to benefit from a $24.5 million seven-year college U.S. Department of Education success grant awarded to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education and Purdue University.

"Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs," or GEAR UP, will fund a statewide effort to strengthen academic preparation, college readiness and career guidance, beginning at the middle school level.

GEAR UP is a separate program, but aligns with the existing Scholar Success Program (SSP) goals of the Evan Bayh 21st Century Scholars program, according to Jason Bearce, associate commissioner with the ICHE.

High school seniors graduating in May 2017 who are enrolled in the 21st Century Scholars program are the first group to navigate the SSP. They are required to complete 12 activities to net the prized four years of in-state college tuition. The scholarship program is based on income eligibility. The activities are meant to provide a road map for college-bound students.

Purdue University is leading a multimillion-dollar statewide effort to prepare students for success, from middle school to college.

The U.S.  Department of Education is giving Purdue and the Indiana Commission for Higher Education $24.5 million over seven years for the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, or GEAR UP, grant. It closely aligns with the goals of the 21st Century Scholars program.

"The bottom line for this is to get kids from disadvantaged backgrounds into college," said Carla Johnson, associate dean for engagement and global partnerships in the College of Education who's leading the initiative.

Starting this year, Purdue staff members and tutors will work with the same group of seventh-graders from 15 schools around the state until their first year of college, if they attend an Indiana university. They'll focus especially on math, science and literacy skills.


While juniors at Mohave and River Valley high schools have been focusing on the future since seventh grade, last week they began showing what they can do.

National Gear Up Week in the Colorado River High School District was marked by five days of activities, many of which were led by LEGIT mentors — student leaders charged with helping younger students negotiate the path to being prepared for the real world.

Gear Up stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs. The Gear Up program’s goal, coordinators Amber Parker-DeWitt and Diane Beardsley said, is to make sure that each student graduates ready for a two- or four-year college, a trade or vocational school, military service or the workforce.

The mentors started the week at Mohave by setting up an obstacle course for their peers as an exercise in leadership and team building.

Earlier this week, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin joined leaders across the nation in proclaiming this week “National GEAR UP Week,” highlighting the importance of going to college and encouraging students to pursue their dreams.

It’s common knowledge that a high school education simply doesn’t cut it anymore. Going into an interview with a college degree gives the candidate an automatic edge over a candidate with a high school diploma.

This is particularly true in West Virginia. According to statistics provided by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, half of all jobs created in the state will require a college degree by 2020. A college degree is a necessity.

As a first-generation college student, knowing just how important it is to go to college presented a number of challenges for me. I didn’t have family members leading me by the arm, showing me what to do.

Luckily, in my eighth grade year, I became a student of West Virginia GEAR UP, a college access program that guided me in the right direction in applying and going to college.

Mayor Tom Brady honored 425 juniors at Mohave and River Valley High Schools by recognizing the schools’ college-bound GEAR UP program.

GEAR UP stands for “Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Program” and is a federally funded college access initiative designed to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to not only attend college but also community college, vocational school, military service and the workforce.

Three GEAR UP students from each high school accepted a proclamation from Brady at City Hall marking Arizona GEAR UP Week in Bullhead City.

“GEAR UP program activities have focused on showing students that further education is more of an expectation than a dream,” Brady’s proclamation noted. He shared how his experience at Southern Illinois University was interrupted when he enlisted in the U.S. Army, returned to finish his bachelor’s degree, and moved to become a graduate assistant at Arizona State University.

He told the students how his education and experience prepared him for three distinct local careers: Mohave County’s first parks director for 19 years, Bullhead City justice of the peace for a decade, and finally, mayor.

Twenty-five high school students were honored in a ceremony in the State Capitol Sept. 20 as part of the first Kentucky GEAR UP Week Celebration. More than a hundred students, parents and educators gathered in the Capitol Rotunda to recognize the GEAR UP Students of the Year for their leadership among their peers, personal accomplishments, and academic achievements.

“Today, we celebrate the next generation of Kentucky’s leaders,” said Bob King, president of the Council on Postsecondary Education. “Programs like GEAR UP are vital in making sure our high school students, especially those who are the first in their family to attend college, are ready to succeed when they graduate – academically, financially, socially and emotionally.”

GEAR UP, or Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, is a federally funded program designed to create a sustainable college-going culture and increase the number of students who stay in school and succeed in postsecondary education.

A multimillion dollar federal grant awarded to Purdue University and the Indiana Commission for Higher Education (CHE) will help more Indiana students stay on track from middle school to postsecondary education. The statewide effort aims to strengthen academic preparation, college readiness and career guidance with a special focus on students in Indiana’s 21st Century Scholars program.

“There’s no learning more important to the individual and collective future of Hoosiers than science and math, but currently there’s no other area in which we are coming up so short. It’s hard to think of another project that fits Purdue’s mission and the needs of our state like this one,” said Purdue President Mitch Daniels.

The Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) grant from the U.S. Department of Education will be led by Carla C. Johnson, associate dean for engagement and global partnerships in the College of Education, in collaboration with campus partners from the colleges of Agriculture and Science, Purdue Polytechnic Institute, and Student Success at Purdue.

The grant amount is anticipated to be $3.5 million annually with the allocation totaling as much as $24.5 million over seven years.