The Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) is a grant program designed under the United States Department of Education. Its goal is to increase the number of students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. 

The Maryland GEAR UP project focuses on Mathematics and English Language Arts (ELA) as gateway subject areas for successful entry into college.  The project follows a cohort of students from middle school through high school graduation. Students in the GEAR UP cohort are currently in the 9th grade and will graduate from high school in the year 2020. 
In addition to providing encouragement, information, and academic enhancement and remediation,GEAR UP will also provide students with competitive access to grant monies to assist in financing a college education or other career training after high school. 

Maryland GEAR UP works with three school systems: Wicomico County Schools, Dorchester County Schools, and Baltimore City Schools. The program includes several components that address three specific areas:

  • Increasing student achievement in Mathematics and ELA,
  • Improving teacher instruction in Mathematics and ELA,
  • Making parents and families aware of postsecondary options, preparations, and finances.

Maryland’s GEAR UP program will achieve these goals by implementing research-based best practices that promote college preparedness and that increase the number of disadvantaged high school students who intend to pursue postsecondary education.  Maryland understands the urgent need to prepare all students for college and is firmly committed to providing college and career access to underrepresented student populations.

Maryland recognizes that the major impediment to a young person’s success is lack of education; therefore, Maryland GEAR UP will provide engaging extra-curricular remediation and enrichment opportunities for its cohort students.

 GEARUP is an early intervention program that requires partnerships to be developed with local education agencies, institutions of higher education, and other community organizations and businesses.  This is done in order to encourage more young people to aim higher, study harder, and take the courses required for college admission and success.  GEAR UP programs address school-college curriculum alignment and emphasize the need to raise teacher, staff, and community expectations of all students.