ALAMOSA — Adams State University and GEAR UP are celebrating national GEAR UP Week, September 17-23. Now in its 14th year at Adams State, federally funded GEAR UP is one of the largest and most effective programs focused on increasing the college and career readiness of low-income students.
According to Liz Tabling-Garcia, collegiate counselor for GEAR UP and Colorado Challenge, Adams State’s program serves approximately 300 students in the Alamosa and Centauri school districts, as well as 89 GEAR UP students now attending Adams State. She noted students who complete four years in the program qualify for a $6,500 scholarship spread over their first two years of college. “For the second two years, Adams State matches that with an additional $6,500 scholarship. Adams State has been a huge supporter of this program.” She added most GEAR UP students are the first in their families to attend college.
GEAR UP serves approximately 635,400 students enrolled in 2,698 secondary schools across 46 states. To be eligible for GEAR UP, a minimum of 50 percent of a school’s student body must be enrolled in the federal Free and Reduced Lunch program. GEAR UP services include academic, social, and planning support through high school graduation and often into the first year of college.
The goals of GEAR UP include:
1. Increasing the post-secondary expectations and readiness of students
2. Improving high school graduation and postsecondary enrollment rates
3. Raising the knowledge of postsecondary options, preparation, and financing among students and families
Eighty-four percent of Colorado GEAR UP students enrolled in college the fall after high school graduation, compared to a statewide enrollment rate of 67 percent.
Caption: Alamosa Mayor Josef Lucero (front, center) welcomed GEAR UP students attending Adams State University at the opening of the fall semester. Courtesy photo