GEAR UP Iowa Future Ready receives state funding

Des Moines, Iowa
April 6, 2022

Ty Patton
(o) 515-725-3417 (c) 205-310-1271

Successful program to continue through ARP funds

DES MOINES – Today, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds announced more than $5 million in American Rescue Plan to support GEAR UP Iowa Future Ready partner districts across the state of Iowa

The funding marks the launch of GEAR UP Iowa Future Ready, which builds upon the established federal GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) Iowa program, dedicated to significantly increasing the number of students prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education.

The Iowa College Student Aid Commission (Iowa College Aid) administers GEAR UP Iowa Future Ready in partnership with the Iowa Department of Education and other state agencies; local school districts; postsecondary educational institutions; and community organizations, businesses, and industries.

"Through this program, we are providing school districts with the tools and resources needed to prepare high school students for transition to post-secondary education through curriculum, mentoring, and guidance,” said Gov. Reynolds. “Investing in our schools, educators and students through proven programs will help us build up our young people, strengthen the talent pipeline, and provide a high-quality workforce for businesses.”

The program will be implemented in the following 11 partner districts ­– Centerville, Clinton, Columbus Junction, Davenport, Davis County, Des Moines, Fort Dodge, Marshalltown, Saydel, South Tama, and Storm Lake. GEAR UP Iowa Future Ready will guide students in those schools from ninth grade through their first year of postsecondary education.

“We’re thankful for Governor Reynolds’ support of this critical program with a proven record of successfully preparing Iowans for postsecondary education and the workforce,” said Iowa College Aid executive director Dr. Mark Wiederspan. “This funding gives GEAR UP Iowa Future Ready the ability to reconnect with students and communities most severely impacted by the pandemic and assist those students in achieving their educational and career goals.”

GEAR UP Iowa Future Ready will utilize the funding to provide students and their families with various services to prepare them academically, financially and inspirationally to enroll and succeed in post-secondary education. In 2020, 88 percent of GEAR UP Iowa graduates had plans to complete a two-year or four-year degree program or other postsecondary training and education. GEAR UP Iowa students have also demonstrated higher rates of attendance, reading and math proficiency, increased standardized entrance exam scores, and FAFSA completion.