Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP)
This discretionary grant program is designed to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. This program is funded through two U.S. Department of Education grant contracts to Roosevelt University’s College of Education and the Chicago Education Alliance, respectively. GEAR UP provides six-year grants to states and partnerships to provide services at high-poverty middle and high schools. The unds are also used to provide college scholarships to low-income students.
Staff from the GEAR UP grant program engage students, teachers and parents in a coordinated system of activities to help keep 15 students on track for high school graduation, and ultimately, for enrollment in postsecondary education. Grantees serve an entire cohort of students beginning no later than the seventh grade and follow the cohort through high school.
As the program nears the completion of the fifth year of services to more than 15,975 students and their families, staff members have increased the focus on high school retention and college preparation activities to meet the needs of the student cohort, who have moved into the 10th and 11th grades in 21 Chicago high schools.
Building strong relationships with students via daily contact through Student Advocates and Tutors has been a foundation of GEAR UP’s services. These personal connections help to foster higher numbers of students participating in multiple college visits, writing personal statements, attending tutoring sessions, attending student leadership events and enrolling in credit recovery courses.
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