Do you know about GEAR UP? If not, you should!

One of Hampton Consulting's (HC) clients is the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor's Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP). Working with both GEAR UP Futurez (GEAR UP's reference of their students, who are now juniors in high school) and GEAR UP parents and families, the program's focus this year is college readiness--from the hard skills (PSATs, college essay writing, etc.) to the soft skills (mentorship, relationship-building, etc.) to the experiences (college visits, guest speakers, and beyond). The impact that GEAR UP has had on Futurez since their seventh grade year has been profound--and the journey isn't over! Continue reading to learn more about GEAR UP. 

The Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP), is a United States Department of Education discretionary grant program designed to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter into, and succeed in, post-secondary education. The King-Chavez Parks Initiative (KCP) won its third GEAR UP grant in September of 2011, resulting in a $23.5 million federal award. These federal funds are matched by state and local MI GEAR UP partners, resulting in $47 million in resources over the seven-year grant cycle. Michigan is one of thirty-nine U.S. states that implements GEAR UP, and runs one of the largest programs nationwide.

Michigan's 15 public universities are the program partners of MI GEAR UP. GEAR UP provides  early intervention services to their respective GEAR UP schools, which are chosen upon overall school eligibility. MI GEAR UP serves a cohort model that begins in the 7th grade and is followed until the end of 12th grade with the transition to either post-secondary education, technical and or vocational training or employment. The cohort is currently finishing the 10th grade and will enter 11th grade during the 2015-2016 school year. The grant serves more than 11,000 students in 59 school districts  who attend 85 different high schools throughout Michigan. 

MI GEAR UP provides the following services to its students:

  • Academic advising and career counseling
  • College Admission overview
  • Financial literacy and college financing strategies
  • Mentoring
  • College visits
  • Tutoring
  • Educational field trips
  • Newsletters
  • College clubs, and guest speakers
  • Cultural events
  • Summer enrichment programs
  • Job site visit/job shadowing
  • Workforce and career development

MI GEAR UP is Michigan's largest college access program, and is unique for its capability to organize and coordinate on a centralized, statewide level through the KCP Initiative. 

Established by the Michigan Legislature in 1986, the goal of the Martin Luther King, Jr. - Cesar Chavez - Rosa Parks (KCP) Initiative is to increase the number of Michigan’s most educationally or economically disadvantaged citizens who have the opportunity to complete college degrees and experience college and career success as active participants in a knowledge-based global society and economy. KCP operates six programs that are designed to work towards this goal, including:

  • Select Student Support Services (4S) Program
  • Michigan College/University Partnership (MICUP) Program
  • Morris Hood, Jr., Educator Development (MHED) Program
  • Future Faculty Fellowship Program (FFF)
  • Visiting Professors (VP) Program

To learn more about the GEAR UP program in the State of Michigan, visit their website here. To learn more about the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor's GEAR UP program, visit Michigan's Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives website here