COLUMBUS, OH, September 30, 2014 – Ohio is among several states that will share more than $82 million in federal funding as part of a Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) grant. The grant – from the U.S. Department of Education – is designed to help low-income and first-generation college students prepare for college and receive the support needed to achieve success in post-secondary education.
The grant awards were announced last week by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
“GEAR UP partnerships and state grants are inspiring examples of communities taking a stand for excellence and equity in education, investing in student success, and creating a culture that helps all young people achieve,” Secretary Duncan said.
Ohio will receive $3.5 million annually for seven years to reduce barriers to college access and completion students by:
- Increasing academic performance and preparation for GEAR UP OHIO students;
- Increasing the rates of high school graduation and enrollment in post-secondary education;
- Increasing GEAR UP OHIO students’ and families’ knowledge of post-secondary options, preparation, and financing; and
- Using increased community involvement to sustain the sites and bolster GEAR UP OHIO practices across the state
“Ohio’s GEAR UP project will embed a college-going culture and leverage significant improvements to Ohio’s education system,” said Rebecca Watts, Associate Vice Chancellor of P-16 Initiatives at the Board of Regents and part of the team that worked on the grant application. Applicants were encouraged to address how they plan to increase post-secondary success, implement college- and career-ready standards, and work in conjunction with Promise Zones – places where the federal government has partnered with local communities and businesses to create jobs, increase economic security, improve educational opportunities, and reduce violent crime.
Ohio’s GEAR UP school partners are from the cities of Parma (Greenbriar Middle School and Parma High School), Marion (Grant Middle School and Harding High School), Norwood (Norwood Middle School and Norwood High School), and Crooksville (Crooksville Intermediate School and Crooksville High School). The state’s GEAR UP college/university partners are the University of Cincinnati – Blue Ash, The Ohio State University – Marion, Cuyahoga Community College (west campus), and Zane State College. College access partners are the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative, the I CAN Center of Excellence in Marion, College Now Greater Cleveland, and the Scholarship Central Access Program in Zanesville. The partners will work under the direction of and in collaboration with the Ohio Board of Regents, the Ohio Department of Education, and College Now Greater Cleveland (the nation’s first college access organization).
“The Board of Regents, Department of Education, and College Now Greater Cleveland comprise a partnership of field experts and leaders in higher education, secondary education, and college access, making GEAR UP OHIO unique among other state programs,” Watts said.
The Ohio Board of Regents is the state agency that coordinates higher education in Ohio. The agency is directed by its Chancellor, who is a member of the Governor of Ohio’s cabinet. The Chancellor, with the advice of the nine-member Board of Regents, provides policy guidance to the Governor and the Ohio General Assembly, advocates for the University System of Ohio and carries out state higher education policy.