Berea College’s Partners for Education program is the recipient of two new Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs or GEAR UP grants.
The $109 million funding supports a comprehensive set of programs for students, parents, and schools to sustain a college going culture.
The U.S. Department of Education grants will benefit almost 20,000 students in 66 schools in southeast Kentucky. Partners for Education Co-director of Programs Sarah White says the seven year grants, coupled with local matching money continue GEAR UP efforts first launched in 1999 with one county. “GEAR UP is funded with the overarching goal of getting students out of high school and into college without the need for remediation,” said White.
White says it’s done through lifting educational aspirations, building academic skills, creating college pathways, and engaging families in the process. It includes mentoring and meeting with small groups of students who have the same study interests.
White says many of the practices will be the same. “We are going to employ more local folks in the school systems than we ever have before because research is showing us that it’s the caring individual working with and checking on that student every day that makes a lasting impact,” said White.
In addition, the state has received a $24 million GEAR UP grant to increase the number of low income students graduating and enrolling in college or workforce training programs.