About GEAR UP!

PDF Icon An Overview of the GEAR UP Program
PDF Icon GEAR UP State Successes
PDF Icon GEAR UP National Profile
Federal GEAR UP Web site Link

GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) started in 1999. This national discretionary grant program is designed to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. National GEAR UP provides six-year grants to states and partnerships to provide services at high-poverty middle and high schools.

  • GEAR UP focuses on early intervention strategies to assist students in becoming prepared for post-secondary education.
  • GEAR UP will help students meet standards necessary for high school graduation and provide them with the skills to succeed beyond high school.
  • GEAR UP students will create a personalized learning plan and take common college and work-preparatory classes. Course work will include additional and/or more rigorous math, English, and science courses.
  • GEAR UP will advise students of advanced learning opportunities available in Idaho and will encourage them to participate in these options while still in high school.
  • GEAR UP will guide students though programs that encourage self knowledge, promote career exploration and lead students to make informed decisions about life after high school.
  • GEAR UP employs partnerships committed to serving and accelerating the academic achievement of cohorts of students through their high school graduation.
  • GEAR UP differs from other college access programs in that it uses a cohort approach that works with entire grade levels and becomes a systemic vehicle for change and innovation. GEAR UP serves as the federal government's initial approach to supporting K-16 education models.
  • Currently, GEAR UP is serving more than 1.5 million students in 47 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Republic of Palau.
  • GEAR UP programs and services not only serve students, but also the educational needs of low-income families through academic and college counseling, parent involvement programs, and other activities that draw families into the educational process.
  • Nationally, GEAR UP has helped to transform the relationship between colleges and universities and K-12 public schools. The program has provided university faculty and college administrators with opportunities to develop a closer working relationship with their K-12 colleagues.

NELSON MANDELA:"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."

State Successes

Since the inception of GEAR UP in Texas, the percentage of the student population taking Algebra in 8th or 9th grade has increased from 69.3% to 90.4%.

In the Salinas, California GEAR UP project, the Academic Performance Index scores for Math and Language rose from 17 points to 47 points, a 176% increase.

In Massachusetts, GEAR UP students have fewer missed days than other students representing an 80% increase in attendance for GEAR UP students.

The mission of GEAR UP Idaho is to inspire students to become active in their educational experience and to ensure they are academically prepared for advancement to post-secondary education; and to increase the economic development and quality of life of Idaho residents by offering avenues to post-secondary education.

  • The GEAR UP Idaho program receives $2.9 million in federal funds per year (a total of just under $18 million over six years), half of which are held in a trust fund to provide scholarships for GEAR UP students.
  • The Higher Education Act requires that at least 50 percent of the total cost of a GEAR UP project to be matched from State, local, institutional, or private sources (i.e., for each dollar of Federal funds, at least one dollar of value in State or private resources must be contributed).
  • The GEAR UP Idaho program is currently providing support and technical assistance to 22 low-income schools throughout Idaho and will serve more than 6,000 students during the six-year term of the grant.
  • GEAR UP Idaho provides support for schools to provide rigorous coursework and college-prep instruction that are crucial to a student's ability to get into and succeed in postsecondary education.