BOONE, N.C. — The U.S. Department of Education (ED) has provided more than $4 million in continued support for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) at Appalachian State University — programs that impact approximately 15,000 students from 11 Western North Carolina school districts.
Appalachian GEAR UP is a federally funded college access program designed to increase the number of students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education immediately after high school.
Dr. James Beeler, director of GEAR UP, received $4,184,721 in additional ED funding for the 2019–20 academic year, or year six of the seven-year grant cycle. Additionally, Appalachian has provided a $2,748,295 matching funds commitment for this project.
“GEAR UP aims to improve college-going mindsets, high school graduation rates and postsecondary enrollment rates through a wide range of research-grounded services to students, families and teachers,” Beeler explained.
The impact of the program spreads across Western North Carolina, reaching high school students in Alleghany, Ashe, Burke, Clay, Graham, Madison, Rutherford, Swain, Watauga, Wilkes and Yancey counties.
The GEAR UP team recently collaborated with Appalachian’s Office of Admissions and the 11 GEAR UP districts to create the GEAR UP Guarantee, which offers guaranteed admission to Appalachian for seniors at GEAR UP high schools who meet these three criteria:
- Apply for admission to Appalachian by Nov. 1 to be considered for all scholarships and early admission.
- Have a minimum weighted GPA of 3.50 and meet specific academic prerequisites as required by the University of North Carolina System.
- Successfully complete a criminal background check and conduct review.
“GEAR UP strives to create capacity in the districts that changes mindsets around college access and college readiness in a sustainable way,” Beeler said. “The goal is that the impact of Appalachian GEAR UP will be felt in the districts even after the grant has ended.”
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About College Access Partnerships
Appalachian State University’s College Access Partnerships supports students from the Appalachian region of North Carolina in finding their own distinct path to postsecondary education. This is accomplished by supporting the work of teachers, counselors and educators, along with providing direct services to students. College Access Partnerships offers the Upward Bound and GEAR UP programs, as well as additional resources for students, families and educators. Learn more at https://gocollege.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls more than 20,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.