September 19, 2016/Students GEAR UP for College through State Partnership

Oklahoma GEAR UP is taking time this week to recognize continued success in helping students and families better prepare for college during National GEAR UP Week, Sept. 19-23. The celebration week showcases the college-access program, Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP), funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education administers the Oklahoma GEAR UP program. Since 1999, Oklahoma has received three consecutive, multi-year, statewide GEAR UP grants, which has helped improve educational outcomes for thousands of Oklahoma students.

“National GEAR UP Week provides a special opportunity to reflect on the excellent progress we have made in student preparation through GEAR UP,” said Oklahoma Higher Education Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “We celebrate the partnership between GEAR UP and its 24 school districts because it is improving awareness of college opportunities and teaching students the steps they need to apply to college, pay for college, and succeed in college.”

During 2015-16, Oklahoma GEAR UP provided early intervention services and strategies for approximately 18,972 students in grades seven through 12. A few of the impacts* include:
• 9,331 students toured a college campus to learn about academic programs and campus life.

• 14,000 educators attended GEAR UP professional training in areas such as school leadership and professional learning communities.

• 10,843 students received academic tutoring and/or mentoring.

• 5,772 students received financial aid information that provided guidance on how to apply for financial aid such as Oklahoma’s Promise, completing the FAFSA, community scholarship, and other financial aid programs.

• 2,638 high school junior completed a free ACT exam provided by Oklahoma GEAR UP.

• 1,367 students in 8th, 9th or 10th grade enrolled in Oklahoma’s Promise.

• 1,946 high school seniors participated in College App Week last November and completed college admission applications with the assistance of onsite college mentors.

• 3,520 high school freshmen attended rookie camp or back to school sessions that helps students transition with confidence to high school or middle school.

The statewide GEAR UP grant is one of several GEAR UP programs in Oklahoma. Eastern Oklahoma State College, Seminole State College, University of Central Oklahoma and the University of Oklahoma K-20 Center also have GEAR UP partnership grants that serve students in their specific geographic areas.

GEAR UP goes beyond the classroom, encouraging community and parental involvement that helps school districts create and sustain a college going culture. Through awareness activities and services, the grant helps promote Oklahoma’s Promise, the state scholarship program, and encourages families to start planning for college early at OKcollegestart.org. Learn more at okgearup.org or follow us on Facebook or Twitter under Oklahoma GEAR UP.

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Special Note: Oklahoma GEAR UP School Districts include: Ardmore City Schools, Caney Valley Public Schools, Catoosa Public Schools, Checotah Public Schools, Davis Public Schools, Duncan Public Schools, Elk City Public Schools, Guymon Public Schools, Harrah Public Schools, Henryetta Public Schools, Hobart Public Schools, Kingston Public Schools, Little Axe Public Schools, Luther Public Schools, Madill Public Schools, Marietta Public Schools, McLoud Public Schools, Newkirk Public Schools, Okmulgee Public Schools, Roland Public Schools, Sapulpa Public Schools, Stilwell Public Schools, Tecumseh Public Schools, and Woodward Public Schools.

*Data based on most recent information reported by 24 GEAR UP School Districts as of Sept. 1, 2016. The U.S. Department of Education awarded Oklahoma with state GEAR UP grants totaling $20.5 million in August 1999, $20.6 million in August 2005 and $34.9 million in September 2011. The grants have been matched by more than $48 million from state and partner resources. From 1999 to 2011, GEAR UP received more than $45.6 million in federal funds. With the addition of the 2011 grant, Oklahoma’s GEAR UP program will ultimately receive more than $80.6 million in federal funds by 2018.

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