Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) is a competitive federal program that provides 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 third consecutive state GEAR UP grant in 2011. The six-year, $27 million award provides direct services to over 8,000 students and their families in 27 high-poverty school districts statewide. With the program’s dollar-for-dollar cost share requirement, the total program investment over the life of the grant will be over $54 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.
- Over the past five years, GEAR UP provided opportunities for students to attend summer camp on college campuses, including Central, Eastern, and Western Washington University, and the University of Washington.
- Students have access to extended day programs for tutoring, mentoring, and advising.
- Students and their families visit multiple college campuses to help them make better choices about college fit and match.
- 85 percent of students report someone has spoken to them about college entrance requirements.
- 71 percent of students report someone has spoken to them about financial aid.
- 93 percent of students report they plan to attend college.
- 52 percent of seniors in GEAR UP schools completed a FAFSA in 2015-16, exceeding the overall state rate for public school seniors.
Learn more about GEAR UP at gearup.wa.gov