IRAPP@MSU - Institute for Regional Analysis and Public Policy at Morehead State University

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GEAR-UP is a Federally funded (nation-wide) initiative aimed at encouraging schools, colleges, universities, and community-based organizations to help students stay in school, study hard, take the right college prep courses, and have high aspirations to pursue collegiate-level studies. The program provides multi-year competitive grants to states and to local partnerships. As outlined in the GEAR-UP legislation, partnership grants are awarded to locally designed partnerships between higher education institutions and high poverty middle schools, and at least two other partners such as community-based organizations, businesses, religious groups, State education agencies (SEAs), parent groups or non-profits. All States are eligible to apply for State grants, provided they focus their efforts on low-income students as a priority, and coordinate those efforts with schools, local community organizations, and institutions of higher education.

In the fall of 2000 Morehead State University was awarded a $7.6 million U.S. Department of Education grant. The award funded the East Kentucky Regional GEAR-UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) Project and will benefit middle school students in Floyd, Johnson, Martin and Pike counties. The goal of GEAR-UP is to increase student academic performance and preparation for postsecondary education, to raise the educational expectations for project students and family knowledge of options and financing, and to improve postsecondary attendance among students form participating school districts. The project will target students beginning in the 7th grade and following them through high school. Students from participating schools will have the opportunity to participate in educational summer camps, Saturday programs, mentoring, tutoring and various after-school programs.

Want to know more about GEAR-UP? Visit the national GEAR-UP site at

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