GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) is a federally funded initiative targeting middle school students from communities with traditionally low levels of participation in higher education. Even when these students are academically talented, they typically don't think of college as a reasonable goal. GEAR UP's strategy is to fund collaborative programs among colleges, community organizations, and middle schools to raise student commitment to doing well in high school and to increase the students' understanding of what it takes to qualify and pay for college. The programs tend to be located in inner cities, rural areas and on reservations.
GEAR UP at the City University of New York
CUNY's GEAR UP project began offering services in the 2000-2001 academic year as a collaboration between the University and nine New York City public middle schools. It provided 8th graders at those schools, and their parents and school personnel, a variety of supports, including:
academic tutoring and mentoring by current University students
opportunities to participate in summer programs on the campuses
workshops for parents on how to further support and strengthen their children's commitment to doing better in school
professional development for teachers in the fields of literacy and math
building partnerships between educators at middle schools, high schools, and colleges
Those same students, entering 9th grade as of academic year 2001-2002, will continue to receive GEAR UP services every year they're in school until high school graduation. Where substantial numbers of those students are attending the same high school, GEAR UP will institute services directly at the high school. Otherwise, services will continue to be available through the college campuses.
Gear Up's Website: www.collegenow.cuny.edu/gearup/