U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Joe Manchin (D-VA), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Kamala Harris (D-CA) introduced the GEAR UP for Success Act, legislation to improve the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Program (GEAR UP), a federal grant program that seeks to increase college awareness, readiness, and success for low-income and underrepresented students.

 

“GEAR UP has a proven track record of success in inspiring and preparing students for education beyond high school,” said Sen. Cornyn. “This legislation reduces costs to free up time and money for grantees to focus on students and gives local leaders more freedom to decide how best to tailor the program for their specific needs.”

 

“Our children are our future. If we are going to continue to compete in a high-tech 21st century economy, we have to make sure that young people have the resources they need to receive a higher education,” said Sen. Manchin. “This legislation will strengthen GEAR UP Programs across the country by empowering state and local leadership to design and implement programs that equip students with the tools necessary to succeed in post-secondary education and reduce the administrative burden for GEAR Up grantees. GEAR UP has and will continue to help generations of students establish and achieve their academic goals, grow our economy and keep our country at the cutting edge of innovation.”

 

“The GEAR Up initiative is important for low-income and underrepresented students to become aware of their college opportunities,” said Sen. Tillis. “North Carolina has a large GEAR UP footprint that has a proven record of success, and I hope we can pass this legislation to allow those in need to have the opportunity for higher education.”

 

“Our young people can only enter and succeed in postsecondary education if we provide them with the right tools they need, especially in underserved communities. Through a coalition of community organization and education partnerships, GEAR UP is instrumental to improve high school graduation rates, college enrollment rates, and helps raise awareness of alternative options for students and their families that provide a path to success. This critical program must be reauthorized because our country’s future depends on it,” said Sen. Harris.

 

Background on the GEAR UP for Success Act:

 

GEAR UP currently serves more than 635,000 students across the nation and helps empower local partnerships of K-12 schools, institutions of higher education, state agencies, and community organizations to increase post-secondary expectations and readiness, improve high school graduation rates and postsecondary enrollment rates, and raise awareness of postsecondary options among student and families.

 

This legislation amends Section 404 of the Higher Education Opportunity Act and would:

 

  • Improve GEAR UP research and evaluation at the local and national levels
  • Empower state and local leadership on the GEAR UP scholarship component
  • Retain state and local flexibility in the design and implementation of programs
  • Reduce administrative burden for GEAR UP grantees