High School Students ‘GEAR UP’ for College
It is National GEAR UP week, and over 16,000 low income students across the state will celebrate the college access program throughout the week.
GEAR UP, Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, began in 1999 and is funded by the United States Department of Education. The program provides students and their families with resources to succeed in college, leading millions of low-income students to success throughout the nation towards positive education outcomes.
“National GEAR UP Week is a time to celebrate all these accomplishments in our community as well as for programs across the country,” says Angela Jackson, GEAR UP Program Director and Associate Director of Hawaiʻi P-20 Partnerships for Education. “To be part of a national initiative that provides college access opportunities to more than 580,000 low-income, minority, and disadvantaged students nationwide in 42 states is something worth celebrating.”
Students are brought together to receive a broadened level of college awareness, expanded academic readiness and increased post-secondary success among public school students in Hawai’i and across the United States.
GEAR UP Hawai’i acts in partnership with the Hawai’i State Department of Education and the University of Hawai’i system, government, nonprofit, and private sectors to provide students with information, encouragement, support, resources, and services that aim to minimize the achievement gaps for groups that are generally underrepresented in higher education.
Twelve high schools in Hawai’i began the Early College High School Program in Spring 2015, which allows students currently in high school to earn six or more college credits before graduating from high school.
The Harold K.L. Castle Foundation has supported GEAR UP Hawai’i for three years, investing more than $1.2 million in resources to fund tuition and expenses, along with technical assistance to high schools working with the UH campuses to provide high school early college courses. Twenty-three classes at high school campuses are being offered this fall.
“GEAR UP Hawaiʻi has been a critical program in our state to assist in leading education reform efforts in college access and success,” said Karen Lee, Executive Director of Hawai‘i P-20 Partnerships for Education, which oversees the statewide GEAR UP program. “The program works hand in hand with the University of Hawai‘i and the Hawai’i State Department of Education to prepare Hawai’i’s students to graduate from high school ready for college or a career and help reach our state’s goal of having 55 percent of working age adults with a college degree by 2025.”