Federal $28.6-million GEAR UP grant to provide college access services to students
and families statewide
Joni Worthington June 15, 2012
CHAPEL HILL - The U.S. Department of Education has awarded the 17-campus University
of North Carolina a seven-year, $28.6-million Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness
for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) grant to help significantly increase the number
of North Carolina students who are prepared to pursue postsecondary education.
As part of the national GEAR UP initiative, GEAR UP North Carolina will partner with
11 school districts across the state that serve predominantly low-income communities,
providing academic preparation services to nearly 22,000 students - starting as early
as the 7th grade - and their families. The program is funded through 2019. This
is the third statewide GEAR UP grant that the University has received since 2000.
"We are thrilled to partner with 46 new target schools as we continue and build upon
the great work accomplished through this program over the past 12 years," said Dr.
Karrie Dixon, UNC Associate Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs and Principal
Investigator for GEAR UP North Carolina.
The most recent GEAR UP North Carolina grant, funded in 2005, increased high school
graduation rates at target high schools by more than 10 percentage points, outpacing
the state of North Carolina and narrowing the gap between GEAR UP North Carolina schools
and the state average by almost half. Target schools also increased the percentage
of students who enrolled in college after high school graduation by almost 10 percentage
points - from 52.4% to 62.2% - across the GEAR UP North Carolina program.
"Not only did our partner schools increase high school graduation rates, thereby enlarging
the pool of students eligible to enroll in postsecondary education," said Dr. Dixon,
"they also increased the percentage of students who actually enrolled in postsecondary
education. That's a phenomenal outcome."
GEAR UP North Carolina will provide eligible students and their families services
including academic tutoring, career exploration, college advising, college visits,
financial literacy workshops, mentoring, postsecondary services, Spanish services,
summer enrichment programs, and professional development for educators.
Additionally, GEAR UP North Carolina will continue to partner with the College Foundation
of North Carolina (CFNC) to provide free college access services to students and their
families in target schools and statewide, helping students to plan, apply, and pay
Additional partners for this statewide initiative include the NC Department of Public
Instruction, NC Community College System, NC Independent Colleges and Universities,
NC State Education Assistance Authority, College Foundation, Inc., ACT, SAS Institute,
and the NC Business Committee for Education.
Recognized by the U.S. Department of Education for its successful use of data during
the national 2010 GEAR UP Day event, GEAR UP North Carolina will continue to provide
data-driven services that ensure the needs of individual students in target schools
"This is a program with a strong track-record of success," said UNC President Tom
Ross. "Through such collaborative partnerships with other education stakeholders in
our state, GEAR UP North Carolina is playing an important role in raising the global
competitiveness of our state's and nation's workforce."
GEAR UP North Carolina's 11 partner school districts include Alamance-Burlington,
Edenton-Chowan, Lenoir County, McDowell County, Pamlico County, Perquimans County,
Person County, Rockingham County, Scotland County, Warren County, and Yancey County.
The article appears courtesy of Joni Worthington, UNC General Administration
Vice President for Communications.
For more information on the program, contact Melissa Caperton, 919-962-3355, firstname.lastname@example.org