New Jersey Commission on Higher Education Receives
A $21 Million Federal GEAR UP Grant
The U.S. Department of Education announced Wednesday that the New Jersey
Commission on Higher Education has been awarded a grant under the
GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate
Programs) initiative. The state will receive a total of $20.9 million
over six years, with nearly $3.5 million in the first year of the
The NJ GEAR UP state project will provide academic support and college
preparation activities to middle school and high school students
in five Abbott school
districts. It will build on the success of the first grant cycle (1999-2005),
during which over 81 percent of student graduates enrolled in college.
“NJ GEAR UP improves student outcomes, increases access to college, and
enables more students to achieve their maximum potential, as called for in the
state’s long-range plan for higher education,” stated Dr. Jeanne
Oswald, Executive Director, Commission on Higher Education. “We are grateful
for the opportunity to continue the important collaborative work supported by
The Commission developed its proposal in collaboration with seven colleges
and universities, the state Department of Education, and the state
Higher Education Student Assistance Authority.
The NJ GEAR UP state project focuses its efforts on five urban centers,
each of which is served by a higher education partner: Camden (Rowan
University), Jersey City (New Jersey City University), Newark (the
Consortium for Pre-College Education in Greater Newark, comprised
of New Jersey Institute of Technology, Rutgers University-Newark,
the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey), Paterson (Passaic County Community College), and Trenton (Mercer County
These institutions provide students at target middle and high schools
with after-school and Saturday tutoring, summer programs, mentoring,
counseling, test preparation, information about financial aid,
and college visits to encourage them to seek a college degree.
also emphasizes the importance of a rigorous college preparatory
curriculum. Over $6 million of the project’s funding is for scholarships,
which will help participating students pay for college.
NJ GEAR UP students are also eligible for participation in the
Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) program, which is administered by
the Commission. EOF provides financial assistance and support services,
including a summer program between high school and the freshman year
Parents and teachers of NJ GEAR UP students benefit as well.
Parents receive early information about postsecondary options
of financial aid, while teachers are provided with professional
development in core content areas.
For additional information, visit www.nj.gov/highereducation/gearup/index.html.
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