Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) is a national initiative to create innovative programs that assist low-income students in preparing to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. New York State has been awarded a seven-year GEAR UP grant by the U.S. Department of Education. The New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) has been designated as New York’s lead administering agency for the 2014-2021 GEAR UP award, administering $22.4 million in grants. NYGEAR UP will work with a cohort of 6,000 students entering the 7th grade at middle schools in districts with low on-time high school graduation rates, continuing through their first year of college.
The overarching goal of the NYGEAR UP project is to significantly increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education or training. Specifically, NYGEAR UP is designed to:
- Increase students’ academic performance and preparation for postsecondary education;
- Increase high school graduation rates among NYGEAR UP students;
- Increase NYGEAR UP students’ participation in postsecondary education, with an emphasis on college readiness, college fit and academic alignment to high-demand fields and sectors of the economy;
- Increase the rate of college persistence and completion of NYGEAR UP students; and
- Increase student and family knowledge of postsecondary education options, preparation and financing.
NYGEAR UP will provide a variety of services based on research-based effective practices. These services will include tutoring, mentoring, counseling, college tours, and a non-cognitive skills curriculum. Professional development opportunities will also be provided to teachers, and parents will be engaged through participation in workshops concerning postsecondary education and training options and the college-going process. These services will be delivered by a combination of State and national higher education industry leaders and high-quality, competitively- selected service providers.