Iowa College Aid has received a series of grants to support the establishment of GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) Iowa, a program supporting underserved students to prepare, enroll and persist through college. Through these grants and partnerships with local school districts, students and their families receive a variety of services aimed at preparing them academically, financially and inspirationally to enroll and succeed in college.
GEAR UP Iowa 3.0
Iowa College Aid was awarded a federal GEAR UP Grant totaling $25.8 million, in September 2023. This seven-year project will partner with 13 Iowa school districts and follow a cohort of current seventh-grade students through high school graduation in 2029 and into their first year of postsecondary education. During the course of the grant, more than 7,500 students will receive a variety of services aimed at preparing students and families academically, financially and inspirationally to enroll and succeed in college and other postsecondary education pathways.
GEAR UP Iowa Future Ready
GEAR UP Iowa Future Ready launched in 2022 with $5.6 million funded by the US Department of treasury through the American Rescue Plan. This four year project will support a cohort of students beginning in the ninth grade and will follow them as they progress through school, while also supporting the graduating class at partner schools each year. The program is a partnership between Iowa College Aid, 11 partner school districts and nearly 40 partnering institutions of higher education and community-based organizations.
GEAR UP Iowa 2.0
Iowa College Aid was awarded a second federal GEAR UP Grant totaling $22.4 million, which began in fall 2014. This seven year project supported a cohort of about 6,300 students beginning in the 7th grade and followed them through high school and their first year of college. The program was implemented through a partnership with 12 school districts and nearly 40 partnering institutions of higher education and community-based organizations. GEAR UP Iowa 2.0 students also received a modest scholarship for up to four years upon enrollment in college.
GEAR UP Iowa 1.0
The first GEAR UP Grant was awarded to Iowa College Aid in 2008. The $16.8 million award went to support 5,697 students across 17 school districts beginning in 7th grade through their senior year. Upon enrollment in a college, GEAR UP Iowa students received a scholarship for up to four years.
GEAR UP IOWA PROGRAM GOALS
- STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT:
Increase the number of underserved and low-income students in GEAR UP Iowa partner schools who graduate from high school prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education.
- SUPPORT HIGH SCHOOL PROGRAMS:
Support GEAR UP partner high schools in implementing educational programs to ensure students successfully complete rigorous college-preparation curricula, graduate from high school, and easily transition from K-12 into higher education programs.
- STUDENT AND FAMILY SUPPORT:
Foster a statewide “college going” culture among low-income, underserved, and first-generation students and increase knowledge and support as students and families plan, prepare and pay for postsecondary education beyond high school.
- SEAMLESS EDUCATION SYSTEM:
Partner with the Iowa Department of Education and other organizations with similar missions to support systems and curricula that increase higher education access and student preparedness.
Implementation of GEAR UP Iowa at the local level will help schools:
- Diagnose the student barriers to higher education.
- Facilitate the completion of a rigorous college preparatory curriculum.
- Provide intensive academic and social support to students.
- Implement activities to educate and inform Iowa families about the value of a postsecondary education.
- Guide students and families through the college search, application, and enrollment process.
GEAR UP Iowa 2023 Conference
GEAR UP IOWA STAFF
- Christina Sibaouih
GEAR UP Iowa Program Director
- Karmon Long
GEAR UP Iowa Program Coordinator
- Amber Miller
GEAR UP Iowa Program Facilitator
- Christine Nguyen
GEAR UP Iowa Program Faciliator
- Graci Zeiger
GEAR UP Iowa Program Facilitator
- Wade Leuwerke
GEAR UP Iowa Research and Training Director
- Crystal Woods
GEAR UP Iowa Fiscal Analyst