NAICU Washington Update

Department Seeking GEAR UP Applications

June 14, 2011

The Department of Education is now accepting application for new GEAR UP awards for FY 2011.  GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) is a discretionary grant program funding academic and related support services to aid low-income students in graduating from high school and preparing for  success in college. 

An area of concern for NAICU is that one of the preferences includes points gained for the use of data drawn from state longitudinal data bases to make decisions related to improving student outcomes. In the GEAR UP notice, this is described as " providing reliable and comprehensive information on the implementation of Department of Education programs, and participant outcomes in these programs, by using data from State longitudinal data systems or by obtaining data from reliable third-party sources. "

In the notice, the Department also details two competitive preference priorities and one invitational priority for this competition.  The awards are for partnerships consisting of one or more local educational agencies, and one or more degree-granting institutions of higher education.  Partnerships may also contain not less than two other community organizations or entities, such as businesses, professional organizations, state agencies, institutions or agencies sponsoring programs authorized under the Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership (LEAP) program.

More than $102 million is available for the new GEAR UP awards, and the Department estimates that the individual awards will range from $100,000 to $7 million.  An estimated 88 awards will be made.

Applications became available on line June 14, and must be submitted by July 14, 2011.  Further background information is available on the Department of Education website.

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