Council on Postsecondary Education
52 Kentucky schools chosen to participate in GEAR UP grant
Note to Editors: The White House budget released last month continues funding for the GEAR UP program through FY 2007, but removes funding thereafter. The proposed budget instead supports several new secondary school initiatives that would provide similar activities
(FRANKFORT, Ky)—Fifty-two elementary and middle schools from across Kentucky were selected to participate in a six-year, $42 million GEAR UP state grant, coordinated by the Council on Postsecondary Education. GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) is a federally-funded, college preparatory program for low-income Kentucky schools.
The Council announced that schools were selected from the following 24 counties—Bath, Breathitt, Butler, Campbell, Carter, Clay, Christian, Green, Fayette, Fleming, Graves, Hart, Jefferson, Kenton, Knott, Leslie, Logan, Metcalfe, Monroe, Perry, Powell, Webster, Whitley and Wolfe.
The selection process for the new GEAR UP schools took into consideration various factors including GEAR UP goals, state and federal requirements for achievement, and the Council’s public agenda for postsecondary education. Program eligibility is based on the percentage of students at a school that are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.
“GEAR UP supports the Council’s overall goal to prepare Kentucky’s youth to succeed in college,” said Tom Layzell, president of the Council on Postsecondary Education. “This program will help us meet our goal of raising the level of educational attainment in Kentucky to the national average.”
The Council was awarded $21 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Education. GEAR UP partners across the state will provide $21 million in matching funds for a total program support of $42 million. This grant follows the initial GEAR UP grant awarded to the Council in 2000, which served over 18,000 students.
Although the Council no longer receives federal funds from the 2000 grant from the U.S Department of Education, GEAR UP staff has continued working with schools and program partners from the previous grant to transition activities into more sustainable efforts within the school community.
“The 2000 GEAR UP grant has provided an excellent framework for sustaining college-going activities,” said Yvonne Lovell, director of GEAR UP Kentucky. “Many GEAR UP college partners have taken more active roles in providing college awareness activities for seventh- and eighth-grade students.”
GEAR UP staff will complete their work with the original 2000 schools in June 2006. At the conclusion of all activities, the Council will report on the impact of the program over the last six years, including exit interviews conducted with students, parents and staff. The full report is expected to be available in fall 2006.
Kentucky's postsecondary education system encompasses eight public institutions and the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, numerous independent institutions and Kentucky Adult Education. The system represents 235,083 students, 538,866 Kentucky alumni and 294,896 GED recipients. When Kentuckians earn postsecondary degrees, their skills improve and their wages go up; they are more likely to lead healthy lives and be engaged in their communities; and they build better futures for themselves and their families.