Fayetteville State University (FSU) will receive $8.2 million over the next seven years for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP). GEAR UP is funded by the US Department of Education and the purpose of the program is to prepare middle and high school students for college through academic preparation programs. GEAR UP will begin working with students in the sixth and seventh grades and continue to support them through their freshman year in college.
GEAR UP provides early college preparation and awareness services through tutoring, mentoring, academic advising, career exploration, college visits, financial aid information, student success workshops, Saturday academies, and summer enrichment camps. In addition, through the Parent Engagement Institute, services are provided for parents in assisting their children with school success and college access. As well, professional development activities are provided for educators at the target schools.
According to Dr. Teresa Thompson-Pinckney, executive director of College Access & Success Programs at Fayetteville State University, “GEAR UP is a national initiative that began in 1998 to encourage more American youth to have high expectations, stay in school, study hard and take the right courses to prepare for college. Through this project, Fayetteville State University, along with our partners, is demonstrating our commitment to youth living in Cumberland County by leveraging resources for us to invest in student success and create a culture that helps all young people achieve.”
GEAR UP Partnership programs must include low-income middle schools, a college or university, and community/business organizations. The GEAR UP partnership comprises of Cumberland County Schools, Fayetteville Technical Community College, Fayetteville/Cumberland Parks & Recreation Centers, Back-to-School, Inc., Epsilon Rho Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Group Theory, Inc., Steps to the Future, LLC, Great Oak Youth Development Centers, Inc. and Uncommon Individual Foundation. “We are thankful to once again have the opportunity to partner with Fayetteville State University in implementing GEAR UP,” said Jane Fields, the executive director of Cumberland County Schools’ Secondary Education. “These partnerships help our students build confidence and connections while supporting their academic achievement.”
The Office of College Access and Success Programs’ mission is to encourage and assist youth who are traditionally under-represented in post-secondary education with preparation for, entry into, and completion of a post-secondary education. The Office is comprised of federally funded programs that include 21st Century Community Learning Centers, GEAR UP, TRIO Talent Search, TRIO Upward Bound, TRIO Upward Bound Math & Science, and AmeriCorps VISTA.
For additional information about GEAR UP, please visit www.uncfsu.edu/cap or call 910-672-1034.