Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) is a federal program that provides competitive six- and seven-year grants to education/community partnerships and states to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. Washington State was awarded its fourth consecutive state GEAR UP grant in 2017. The $24.5 million award provides direct services to over 5,500 students and their families in 26 high-poverty school districts statewide. With the program’s dollar-for-dollar cost-share requirement, the total program investment over the life of the six-year grant will be over $49 million.
GEAR UP’s vision is that all students are academically, socially, and financially prepared to enter and complete the college of their choice.
GEAR UP’s three objectives are:
- Increase academic performance and preparation for postsecondary education.
- Increase high school graduation and postsecondary participation rates.
- Increase students’ and their families’ knowledge of postsecondary options, preparation, and finances.
- Partner school districts receive funding to hire additional staff to serve as college access professionals, tutors, mentors, and other program support staff who provide direct services to students and families.
- Students have access to extended day programs for tutoring, mentoring, and advising.
- Students and their families have multiple opportunities to visit postsecondary campuses to learn about admissions, academic programs, and financial aid options, attend student workshops, and participate in summer campus experiences.
- 68 percent of the Class of 2017 had enrolled in a postsecondary institution by fall 2018.
- Twenty-seven GEAR UP schools offered dual enrollment courses, resulting in over 270 students graduating high school with an associate degree or certificate.
- 72 percent of 2017 graduates completed a FAFSA.
Learn more about GEAR UP at gearup.wa.gov