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Press Release

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Tom Butler
(850) 245-0413

Florida Receives $18 Million Gear Up Grant
Federal grant supports college readiness for low-income students

TALLAHASSEE – Beginning this fall, low-income students at nine schools in four Florida school districts will have an exciting new opportunity to prepare for postsecondary education. The U.S. Department of Education has awarded an $18 million GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) grant to Florida to support early college awareness and readiness for low-income students.

“Postsecondary instruction is an essential component for success in today’s highly competitive global marketplace,” said Education Commissioner Eric J. Smith. “The GEAR UP grant will help build dreams and provide the means for students to consider a college education.”

GEAR UP is a six year discretionary grant that supports early college awareness and preparation activities for low-income students in grades seven through 12. It is specifically designed to help middle and high school students handle more rigorous and advanced coursework to better prepare them for college. The grant also includes a large parent and student awareness component that explains the college experience, clarifies college academic and financial requirements, and invalidates the culture that low-income students cannot attend college.

The districts and schools participating in the GEAR UP grant are Gadsden County (Carter-Parramore, James A. Shanks Middle School, Havana Middle School, East Gadsden High School, West Gadsden High School), Jefferson County (Jefferson Middle/High School), Leon County (Nims Middle School, Rickards High School) and the FAMU Developmental Research School.

GEAR UP also calls for local matching grants and business partnerships to serve the entire student population at participating schools. Partnership grants are competitive, six-year matching grants that include an early intervention component and provide college scholarships. Additional grant activities include intensive professional development and an on-site GEAR UP coach to assist with parental involvement, student guidance and counseling, collection of baseline and annual data, and arranging college orientations, summer bridge programs, and summer college experiences.

For more information about the GEAR UP grant, visit http://www.ed.gov/programs/gearup/index.html.