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GEAR UP Partnership Programs in New Jersey

A GEAR UP partnership is a locally-designed agreement among colleges and low-income middle schools, plus at least two other partners. These programs and their scholarships are funded through a separate grant offered by the U.S. Department of Education and are not administered by the NJ Higher Education. The goal of the partnership is to increase college-going rates among low-income youth. Partner organizations may include:

  • community organizations
  • businesses
  • religious groups
  • State education agencies
  • parent groups
  • non-profit organizations.
 College Readiness Passaic
Joshua Koen, GEAR UP Project Coordinator
College Readiness Passaic
Tel.: 973-458-6057 ; FAX: 973-365-2348

College Readiness Passaic is an initiative composed of two federal grants, GEAR UP and API (Advanced Placement Incentives) working in the Passaic City Public School District. The City of Passaic is a culturally diverse, densely populated inner-city community, home to some  67,861 people within just 3 square miles.  The US Census 2000 reported Passaic’s per capita income at $12,874, one of the lowest in New Jersey relative to the state average then of $27,006. In the same year, 24% of Passaic’s families with children lived below the poverty level versus 9.2% for all NJ residents. More recent statistics bear out the low income status of Passaic families.

The core mission of College Readiness Passaic is to increase the number of middle and high school students attending post-secondary educational institutions, particularly those from low-income neighborhoods. Both grants were created by Congress and are funded by the US Department of Education and offer experiential (college visits, week-long college experiences) and curricular (increased access to Advanced Placement classes, tutoring, teacher professional development, etc.) programs and services.

Additionally, with the professional development centerpiece of this project and partnerships with area universities including William Paterson University, Montclair State University, and New Jersey Institute of Technology, the district aims to have trained a cadre of teachers to employ engaging teaching strategies, data integration, and assessment and math, science and language arts content that will abide.

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