GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs), is a discretionary grant program awarded by the US Department of Education to increase the number of students who enter and succeed in post-secondary education from low-income families and under-resourced communities.
Iowa College Aid is the recipient of a U.S Department of Education GEAR UP State Grant 2014-2021 award. GEAR UP Iowa 2.0 (GUI 2.0) works with approximately 7,000 students in 12 school districts in the state of Iowa. Beginnning in 7th grade, GUI students are provided academic preparation, college and career exposure and non-cognitive skill development for college knowledge and success. The students attended high schools in the following school districts: Cedar Rapids, Clinton, Columbus Junction, Davenport, Denison, Des Moines, Fort Dodge, Marshalltown, Ottumwa, Perry, Sioux City, Storm Lake.
With increasing attention on not just college access, but also college success, the US Department of Education began, in 2011, making 7-year awards to enable entities to "provide services to a student through the student's first year of attendance at an institution of higher education." The GUI College Partner Grant seeks to support new initiatives, or expand existing programming, with the potential to positively impact student engagement and academic performance in college, with the ultimate goal of improving persistence, for GUI students. Applicants are encouraged to propose novel ideas, as well as expand upon proven practices on their campuses.