NYGEAR UP Questions and Answers

What is GEAR UP?
The Federal Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) is a competitively awarded grant program designed to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. New York State has been awarded a seven-year, $22.4 million GEAR UP grant by the U.S. Department of Education to serve a cohort of entering 7th grade students beginning in the 2014-15 school year through high school graduation and their first year of college. . NYGEAR UP will work with a cohort of 6,000 low-income New York State students to prepare them to enter and succeed in postsecondary education or training.
What are the objectives of NYGEAR UP?
  • 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.
What are the intended outcomes of NYGEAR UP?
The intended outcomes of NYGEAR UP are:
  • Lower dropout rates;
  • Higher high school graduation rates;
  • Higher rates of students who graduate high school with Advanced Designation diplomas;
  • Higher rates of enrollment in college or vocational training programs;
  • Increased knowledge of postsecondary education options, preparation and financing among students and their families;
  • Reduced need for remedial coursework among students entering college; and
  • Greater college success.
What services will students receive if my school and/or school district participate in NYGEAR UP?
NYGEAR UP students will receive mandatory services that include tutoring, mentoring, and counseling, as well as services to develop students’ non-cognitive skills and participation in college tours.
Who will provide NYGEAR UP services to my students?
Services will be rendered by qualified non-profit providers and NYGEAR UP State partners such as The College Board, the State University of New York, and City University of New York.
Which of the schools in my district are eligible to participate in NYGEAR UP?
NYGEAR UP will target services to students enrolled in middle schools that feed into high schools in which 60 percent or fewer students graduate on-time based on the New York State Education Department’s report on the 2009 cohort of entering 9th grade students. Upon entering the 9th grade, services will continue at the eligible high school in which the majority of NYGEAR UP middle school students are enrolled. Click here to see the list of eligible NYGEAR UP high schools.
Can NYGEAR UP funds be used for existing programs or services?
NYGEAR UP funds cannot be used in place of previously funded programs or services offered to students. Funding may only be used to supplement or expand on existing efforts, or to implement new services.
How will NYGEAR UP sites be selected?
In late October, HESC will issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) to solicit the provision of NYGEAR UP services by eligible nonprofit organizations at interested sites. The list of interested sites will be comprised of those sites identified on a completed Confirmation of Interest form submitted to HESC. Non-profit organizations responding to the RFP will be instructed to partner with schools from the Confirmation of Interest form within the competitive RFP process. Proposals will be reviewed and scored and awards will be made to the highest scorers.
Who can respond to the RFP to provide services for NYGEAR UP?
Non-profit organizations, including non-profit secondary schools, institutions of higher education (IHEs), and non-profit community-based organizations, may submit proposals. A school district may choose to submit its own proposal in partnership with one or more nonprofit community based organizations.
What are the funding requirements for NYGEAR UP?
A dollar-for-dollar match (cash or in kind services) of NYGEAR UP funding must be demonstrated by any nonprofit organization applying for a NYGEAR UP grant. The match may come from the nonprofit service provider or the site; however, federal funds may not be used to match NYGEAR UP funds..
How many sites will be selected?
Multiple projects sites across New York State will be selected such that NYGEAR UP can meet its goal to serve a cohort of 6,000 students.
When will I be notified whether my district has been selected as a site?
The procurement and announcement schedule will be issued with the RFP announcement. Sites will be selected in time for students to receive services beginning in January 2015.