The U.S. Department of Education has awarded a $29.5 million GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) grant to Appalachian State University for funding to begin this academic year (effective Sept. 30). The scope of the grant includes Swain County Schools and nine other partnering school districts, eight partnering North Carolina higher education institutions and approximately 14,000 middle and high school students and their families. Appalachian is one of only six institutions awarded a GEAR UP Partnership grant in 2020. With full support from university leadership, Appalachian GEAR UP submitted this grant application that would serve approximately 14,000 students in Western North Carolina for seven
Through a wide range of research-grounded services delivered to students, families and teachers, the GEAR UP program aims to improve college-going mindsets, high school
graduation rates and postsecondary enrollment rates. “We want to extend a deep sense of gratitude for the support of university leadership, our partner school districts and partner higher education institutions. An application of this magnitude was accomplished not as a result of one person but of the teamwork and collaboration that is so strongly valued and lived every day by members of the Appalachian State University faculty and staff. Appalachian GEAR UP is committed to serving the students of Western North Carolina for
the long term and to ensuring every student is prepared with the knowledge and skills to succeed in life after high school,” said Corinne Smith, director of Appalachian GEAR UP.
“We are so excited to continue the great work with our partners across the Western North Carolina region. We strive to encourage students to envision a future strengthened by
postsecondary education and the knowledge to make their dreams come true,” said Dr. James Beeler, senior director of Appalachian’s College Access Partnerships, which oversees
Appalachian GEAR UP.