Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) is a discretionary grant program funded by the U.S. Department of Education. In 2008 and 2014, the Iowa College Student Aid Commission (Iowa College Aid) received GEAR UP awards to administer statewide GUI programs. With a third award, Iowa College Aid’s proposed GEAR UP Iowa 3.0 program (GUI 3.0) will help prepare the class of 2027 to be academically, financially, and socially prepared to attain their postsecondary aspirations.
State GEAR UP grants are seven-year grants that focus upon three objectives:
Increase the academic performance and preparation for postsecondary education for GU students;
Increase the rate of high school graduation and enrollment in postsecondary education for GU students; and
Increase GU students’ and their families’ knowledge of postsecondary education options, preparation, and financing.
To increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education, the GUI program works via partnerships with school districts, postsecondary institutions and communities. These partnerships center around a cohort of students, following them beginning in seventh grade, through their first year of postsecondary education. This approach provides an opportunity to better assess impacts of services and interventions, but also emphasizes the development of sustainable systems change to impact future cohorts of students.