Sending Office: Honorable Susan A. Davis
Sent By:

Support Funding for GEAR UP

Deadline: 10 AM Friday, March 16


Dear Colleague:

I invite you to join us sending the attached letter in support of funding for GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs). This comprehensive grant program, housed at the U.S. Department of Education, is currently providing
over 700,000 students across 44 states with the necessary support to ensure that they are ready for college and career.

The program is extremely competitive, but successful grant applicants often serve as national models for what is possible in education. With $375,000,000 the success of this program could be scaled up to serve an additional 70,000 students in even more communities.
Given the high number of current GEAR UP grantees needing a competition in FY 2019 to reapply to the program, support for this program is more important than ever.  

The success of GEAR UP has been highlighted not only by poignant success stories but also evidence-based research from the data provided by the program’s built in accountability measures that has been collected since its inception. As detailed in the attached
letter, the GEAR UP program has substantially improved college-going rates for participating students over students from similar low-income backgrounds.

GEAR UP grants are awarded either to “partnerships” of school districts, Institutions of Higher Education and community organizations, or to entire States who serve multiple school districts.  Programming includes increased rigor to prepare students for
college-level work, financial literacy information to help students and their families make wise financial decisions, and college visits that expand the horizon of students who are likely the first in their family to attend college.  The program starts early,
usually in sixth or seventh grade, and follows students through middle and high school and into their first year of college.  The goal of the program has long been to create a college-going culture for students and schools who are unlikely to pursue or succeed
in higher education and to show students what is possible for them.  GEAR UP is critical to the economic future of our communities and the global competitiveness of our nation.

For more information, or to be added to the Appropriations letter, please contact Armita Pedramrazi at by 10 am on Friday, March 16th.




Susan A. Davis                                                                           

Member of Congress                                                 



-letter text- 

Dear Chairman Cole and Ranking Member DeLauro:

As you consider the difficult and important work of appropriating public resources for the Labor, Health, Human Services and Education Subcommittee, we urge you to include $375,000,000 for the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs
(GEAR UP).  At a time where 65% of jobs will require some postsecondary training, ensuring that students are prepared for and succeed in higher education is essential for our nation’s economic, civic, and social wellbeing. Yet for far too many students, postsecondary
education remains out of reach. This cost-effective college readiness program has helped millions of low-income students progress on the pathway to college and build a more stable future for themselves, their communities and our nation.  In fact, the New America
Foundation, in their Rebalancing Resources and Incentives in Federal Student Aid report, called GEAR UP the “most promising” program “aimed at raising the college aspirations and improving the academic preparation of disadvantaged students” and called
for “triple funding for GEAR UP.” 

Recent data shared by the U.S. Department of Education affirms the impact that the program is having, with GEAR UP high school graduates enrolling immediately into postsecondary education at rates substantially higher (77.3% in 2014) than the national average
for low-income students (45.5% in 2013). The GEAR UP program is truly a locally-driven, highly flexible model for closing achievement gaps and creating opportunity.

Given GEAR UP’s success, it’s no surprise that it has become an exceptionally competitive grant program, with many near-perfect grant applications being turned away. An appropriation of $375,000,000 would allow the U.S. Department of Education to better
meet the needs of communities nationwide and would bring an estimated 70,000 additional students into the program. GEAR UP has demonstrated tremendous success with students across a diverse range of backgrounds in large cities, rural areas, and everywhere
in between, and is currently active in 44 states across the nation. The proven model starts early in low-income middle schools and follows students through high school and into their first year of college. By incorporating scholarship funds, expanding access
to rigorous academic courses, tutoring, mentoring, financial literacy, and intensive college and career planning, GEAR UP builds college-going cultures in schools where even high school graduation cannot be taken for granted. 

At a time of tight budgets, we have to invest every dollar responsibly.  GEAR UP’s proven track record, as well as its critical role in building our economy, makes it a truly worthwhile investment. 



Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Appropriations, Education

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