Arizona GEAR UP Advances Equity
Arizona GEAR UP helps middle and high school students prepare for college and succeed in life beyond high school. A robust Arizona depends on a well-educated workforce, and we believe every Arizona child deserves equal access to higher education. But, there’s a lot of work ahead of us. Students living in low-income and under-served communities don’t receive the same access, and inequities grow.
Arizona at a glance:
- Currently, only 45% of Arizonans complete some type of higher education.
- Today, 65% of jobs require training after high school.
- Nearly 25% of Arizona’s children live below the poverty line.
- People with a bachelor’s degree earn 75% more than those with a high school diploma.
The goal of Arizona GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) centers on leveling the playing field for all students.
Arizona GEAR UP will increase:
- Academic performance and college preparation.
- High school graduation and college enrollment rates.
- Educational expectations for students and increase college knowledge for students and families.
Since grant funding began in 2000, we’ve helped increase graduation rates, built capacity in targeted schools, helped create a college-going culture, and increased the college-going rate among Arizona youth. More than 15,000 students benefited from Arizona GEAR UP in the past two decades.
In 2019, the U.S. Department of Education awarded a six-year, $32 million grant to Northern Arizona University to administer Arizona GEAR UP. Thousands of Arizona students will receive services. Like previous grants, local community partners provide services and resources to meet the grant goals and provide a dollar-for-dollar match.
During this grant, we’ll focus on the 5E’s of Equity:
- Engage communities, educators, students, and families.
- Empower every sector with the knowledge and tools to overcome systemic inequities.
- Help create rigorous learning environments where students excel.
- Elevate expectations for high school graduation and college attainment.
- Enrich the communities, schools, and families to create a strong and sustainable college-going culture.
Take a look at some of our accomplishments over the years.
GEAR UP Timeline
2000 Accordion Open
NAU received $12.6M (first Arizona GEAR UP grant) and $9.1M Partnership grant to address educational access and equity.
2006 Accordion Closed
$16.9M improved student achievement & instruction, created college-going culture, and awarded scholarships.
2012 Accordion Closed
$30M awarded to improve college & career readiness in middle school.
2019 Accordion Closed
$32M awarded to Arizona GEAR UP to address equity in education.