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What is GEAR UP?

Taken from the California GEAR UP website at

What is GEAR UP?

GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) was enacted as part of the 1998 Higher Education Act to give more low-income students the skills, encouragement, and preparation to enter and succeed in post-secondary education.  GEAR UP grants have been awarded to 46 states and four territories.  Program services are specifically designed to support the middle school reform effort in each state.

Why begin college preparation in middle school?

Recent data indicates that California’s educational pipeline – from the time students enter secondary education to when they graduate from college – needs significant repairs.  For every 10 students who start high school in California, fewer than two will complete a higher education degree within the expected time.  Analysis by the National Center on Public Policy and Higher Education shows where the pipeline is “leaking” in California:

  • 8th graders perform poorly on the national assessments in math, reading and writing compared to their peers in other states;
  • A very small percentage of low-income 8th graders perform well on the national assessment in math and science with the percentage dropping over the past nine years, particularly among low-income and minority students;
  • Very small proportions of high school students enroll in upper-level science courses.

You can learn more about GEAR UP at the official site for California State GEAR UP, .