August 9, 1999
CONTACT: Jeanne Oswald or
Angela Suchanic
(609) 292-4310

New Jersey Commission on Higher Education
Receives $10 Million Federal GEAR UP Grant

The U.S. Department of Education announced that the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education received a state grant under the new GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) initiative. The NJ GEAR UP state project will focus on ten middle and seven high schools in four of the state's urban centers: Camden, Jersey City, Newark, and Trenton.

The NJ GEAR UP state project will build on existing state-funded College Bound programs at Mercer County Community College, New Jersey City University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Rowan University, Rutgers - Newark, and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Participating programs will provide students with after school and Saturday tutoring, summer programs, mentoring, counseling, and college visits to encourage them to pursue undergraduate education.

In addition to early intervention, the project will have a strong scholarship component. Following award of the federal and a comparable state 21st Century Scholar Certificate, students will receive financial aid workshops and individual application assistance. Students will also be eligible for participation in the state's Educational Opportunity Fund program which provides scholarship assistance and support service including a bridge program between high school and the freshman year in college.

The Commission developed this program in collaboration with the selected institutions, the state Department of Education, the state Higher Education Student Assistance Authority, and the New Jersey Educational Opportunity Fund. The state will receive $1.4 million in the first year of the grant; a total of $10 million will be awarded to the state over five years. "This collaboration between institutions and the state will make a positive difference in the lives of urban youngsters. It will help them acquire the academic skills and provide the essential support services they need to prepare for college," said James E. Sulton, Jr., executive director of the Commission on Higher Education.

In addition to the successful state proposal, Rutgers - Camden, New Jersey Institute of Technology's Center for Pre-college Programs, and the Englewood Public Schools also won grants through a separate partnership grant competition. Funding under the GEAR UP program was extremely competitive. The U.S. Department of Education received more than 670 state and partnership proposals representing all 50 states. New Jersey was one of 21 states to receive a state grant.

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