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University of Hawaii awarded $18.1 million to continue college prep programs for low-income students

University of Hawaiʻi
Posted: Aug 25, 2005

The University of Hawaiʻi today was awarded $18.1 million by the U.S. Department of Education to help more than 20,000 middle and high school students prepare for college. The award will support the continuation of two GEAR UP grants: $15.3 million to support statewide efforts and $2.8 million to support this year‘s sixth and seventh graders at Kalakaua Middle School.

GEAR UP, which stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, increases opportunities for low-income students to enter and succeed in postsecondary education through academic preparation and college awareness beginning in students‘ middle school years.

The University of Hawaiʻi, State of Hawaiʻi Department of Education(DOE) and community organizations are renewing their commitment to support students‘ college preparation through rigorous curriculum, student support services, and increased students‘ and families‘ college awareness through the six-year grants (2005-11).

"The University of Hawaiʻi is pleased to partner with the DOE and the community to increase access to college for low-income students statewide," said UH Interim President David McClain. "The Hawaiʻi P-20 initiative reminds us that college preparation and success begin long before a student‘s senior year. GEAR UP is an excellent opportunity for UH to support the DOE‘s efforts to prepare students so that they will graduate from high school without the need for remediation and be prepared for higher education and employment in Hawaiʻi."

DOE Superintendent Patricia Hamamoto said, "Hawaiʻi's public schools aim to prepare all graduates to pursue post-secondary education or careers without need for remediation. GEAR UP assists by providing our students with early college awareness, through increasing alignment between the DOE and University of Hawaiʻi, and by supporting adoption of rigorous coursework for all students."

The Senate and House appropriations committees have supported $306.5 million for GEAR UP nationwide in the 2006 fiscal year.

"I am pleased and proud that UH and DOE competed and won those six-year grants," said Representative Neil Abercrombie. "And I will keep pushing to ensure these Hawaiʻi grants are appropriately funded throughout the entire six years."

Senator Daniel K. Akaka added, "As a former educator, I can see the tremendous value that GEAR UP provides to our youth. In many cases, GEAR UP students may never have considered going to college without the services or encouragement that the program provides. I am pleased to continue supporting GEAR UP and its goals for student achievement and advancement."

The state grant, administered by the UH Vice President‘s Office for Academic Planning and led by Shirley J. Daniel, will receive $2.7 million for 2005-06, and the partnership grant for Kalakaua Middle School, administered by the UH-Manoa Office of Student Equity, Excellence, and Diversity and led by Rod Labrador, will receive $467,665 for 2005-06.

Over the past five years, partners in the GEAR UP Hawaiʻi state grant have worked to facilitate school improvement and student support programs that provide all students, particularly low-income students, with college prep resources and activities. GEAR UP initiatives have included establishing GEAR UP college prep clubs at 25 high schools, providing tutorial services for middle school students, hosting activities to increase family involvement in schools and offering professional development for middle school English and math teachers to help students meet state standards. The first year of GEAR UP Scholars graduate high school in Spring 2006.

The UHM GEAR UP partnership grant began in 2000 at Dole Middle School and Kalakaua Middle School and works with the class of 2006. The program provides this cohort of students, who are now seniors at Farrington High School, access to rigorous academic preparation, financial information, and individual education awards to attend college. Specifically, UHM GEAR UP has provided college visits, tutoring, advising, counseling, test preparation workshops, a student club, and other academic enrichment activities for students, professional development activities for teachers, and the GEAR UP Parent Association (GPA) to increase parental involvement. A key component of the program is the GEAR UP Language Education Program, which included the Language Awareness and Culture Education (LACE) program during the middle school years and two content-based heritage language courses - Ilokano 1 and Ilokano 2 as well as Samoan 1 and Samoan 2 - which are offered throughout the school year at Farrington High School. During school year 2004-05 there were approximately 200 students enrolled in both of the heritage language classes. The GEAR UP partnership cohort will graduate in June 2006.

Notes to Media Contact: Please call Gale Mejia for questions about the State GEAR UP grant and interviews with GEAR UP college counselors and students at local high schools. For questions regarding the GEAR UP partnership grant, please call Rod Labrador at 956-9112.