The University of Hawaiʻi will be celebrating the success of three college-access programs during National GEAR UP Week 2013 starting September 23. Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) is funded by the U.S. Department of Education to provide students and families the resources they need to succeed in college. Since its inception in 1999, GEAR UP has improved educational outcomes for millions of low-income students across the United States.

To celebrate National GEAR UP Week, GEAR UP will be collaborating with the Department of Education to host a legislative briefing at 9:30 a.m. on September 24 at Waipahu High School’s Library and a special event for Step Up Scholars on September 28 at 8 a.m. at UH West Oʻahu.

This year, more than 17,000 students were served statewide by the three Hawaiʻi GEAR UP programs (GEAR UP Hawaiʻi, GEAR UP Waipahu and Nānākuli-Waiʻanae GEAR UP). The programs aim to broaden college awareness, expand academic readiness and increase postsecondary success among Hawaiʻi’s public school students. The three Hawaiʻi GEAR UP programs collaborate with the Hawaiʻi State Department of Education and the University of Hawaiʻi System as well as the government, nonprofit and private sectors to provide information, encouragement, support, resources and services and help eliminate achievement gaps among groups traditionally underrepresented in higher education.

“GEAR UP Hawaiʻi has been a critical program to assist in leading education reform efforts in college access and success. It is essential to reach the state’s goal of 55 percent of working age adults holding a two- or four- year college degree by 2025,” said Karen Lee, executive director of Hawaiʻi P–20 Partnerships for Education, which oversees the statewide GEAR UP program. “The program works hand in hand with the University of Hawaiʻi and the Hawaiʻi State Department of Education to prepare Hawaiʻi’s students to graduate from high school ready for college or a career, which is absolutely necessary to our state’s future.

For more information about National GEAR UP Week activities and GEAR UP Hawaiʻi read the UH System news release.

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