The goal of the GEAR UP program is to ensure that Oregon's low-income middle school and high school students are prepared for, pursue, and succeed in postsecondary education whether that be a Bachelor's degree, Associates degree, certificate, apprenticeship or other training.
Oregon GEAR UP - which stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs - is supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education and the contributions of many community partners. We work with select middle and high schools over seven years to create a college-going culture by providing funding and technical assistance, professional development for educators, and summer opportunities for students. Our most recent grant was awarded in September 2022.
Our schools range in size but all serve low-income students in rural communities. School staff work as a team to design program activities that meet the needs of their community grounded in our research-based model. Examples include college visits, financial aid awareness nights for parents and students, tutoring and academic support, and career fairs. The Oregon GEAR UP office and its partner organizations also sponsor statewide activities that complement the efforts of school personnel.
In addition to working with GEAR UP schools, our program conducts outreach and offers college readiness resources to all of Oregon's low-income serving middle and high schools including statewide initiatives like College Application Week and It's A Plan, comprehensive checklists for students, parents, and educators from middle school through college. GEAR UP is currently administered by Oregon State University; the Oregon University System administered the program from 2002-2014. Note: Portland Public Schools has a separate GEAR UP partnership grant.