Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) is a competitive grant program of the U.S. Department of Education that increases the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education by providing States and local community-education partnerships six-to-seven year grants to offer support services to high-poverty, middle and high schools.
In the fall of 2014 the University of Alabama at Birmingham was awarded the state grant, thus GEAR UP Alabama (GUA) was born. Servicing nearly 9,300 students in 52 schools across 21 school systems throughout the Black Belt Region of Alabama, GEAR UP Alabama has five objectives to meet the overall goal established by the grant:
- Increase the academic performance and preparation for postsecondary education for GEAR UP students.
- Increase the rate of high school graduation and enrollment in postsecondary education for GEAR UP students.
- Increase GEAR UP students’ and their families’ knowledge of postsecondary education options, preparation, and financing.
- Increase percentage of GEAR UP students who enroll in and succeed in postsecondary education.
- Increase the preparation of the project teachers and staff to teach and serve GEAR UP students.