Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs

Supports eligible entities in providing or maintaining a guarantee to eligible low-income students who obtain a secondary diploma (or its recognized equivalent), of the financial assistance necessary to permit the students to attend an institution of higher education; and supports eligible entities in
providing additional counseling, mentoring, academic support, outreach, and supportive services to elementary and middle schools, and secondary school students who are at risk of dropping out of school; and information to students and their parents about the advantages of obtaining a postsecondary education and the college financing options for the students and their parents.

Agency - Department of Education

The Department of Education ensures equal access to education and promotes educational excellence through coordination, management and accountability in Federal education programs. The Department works to supplement and complement educational efforts on all levels, encouraging increased involvement by the public, parents and students.

Program Accomplishments

In FY 08, 40 State grants were awarded and 152 partnership grants were awarded.

Uses and Use Restrictions

There are two components of GEAR-UP: Early Intervention and Scholarship Components.

Under the Early Intervention component awards may be used to allow States and partnership of entities such as community-based organizations, schools, institutions of higher education, public and private agencies, nonprofit and philanthropic organizations, and businesses to provide early intervention activities such as comprehensive mentoring, counseling, outreach, and supportive services programs to eligible students beginning no later than seventh grade through grade twelve.

Under the Scholarship Component awards may be used for the purpose of awarding Federal grant assistance to a student who is less than 22 years old at the time of first scholarship; receives a secondary school diploma or its recognized equivalent on or after January 1, 1993; is enrolled or accepted for enrollment in a program of undergraduate instruction at an institution of higher education and who participated in the early intervention component or in a TRIO program.

This program is subject to non-supplanting requirements and must use a restricted indirect cost rate which is referenced under 34 CFR 76.564-76-569.

For assistance call the Office of the Chief Financial Officer/Indirect Cost Group on (202) 708-7770.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

A State, or a partnership consisting of one or more local education agencies acting on behalf of one or more elementary schools or secondary schools; and the secondary schools that students from the schools (elementary/secondary) would normally attend; one or more degree granting institutions of higher education; and at least two community organizations or entities, such as businesses, professional associations, community-based organizations, philanthropic organizations, State agencies, parent groups, and/or nonprofit organizations.

States are required to conduct both components.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Low-income students and students in high-poverty schools.



Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

This program is eligible for coverage under Executive Order 12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs." An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his/her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review.

Application Procedures

In any fiscal year in which funds are available for new awards, the Department of Education publishes a notice in the Federal Register inviting applications and establishing a deadline date. An application package is available from the Office of Higher Education Programs. Copies are available on the web page and will also be mailed upon request. This program is subject to the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-110.

Award Procedures

Peer review panels composed of representatives from public and private higher education, State, and local education agencies having expertise in elementary, secondary, and higher education are designated to review applications.


The deadline date is published in the Federal Register.


Higher Education Act, Title IV, Part A, Subpart 2, Chapter 2, 20 U.S.C. 1070a-21-1070a-28.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Notification usually is made within 4 months of the deadline for submission of applications.




Applications for renewal of multi-year projects are processed and funded before those for new projects. Renewals are subject to the availability of funds.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

This program has a statutory nonfederal matching requirement of not less that 50 percent of the program cost. States are required to match at 50 percent of the grant. The Secretary may, by regulation, modify the percentage match for partnerships. The nonfederal contribution may be in cash or in-kind.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Grants are made for up to 5 years, subject to the availability of funds.

Post Assistance Requirements


A biennial evaluation report is required.


In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003), "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Nonprofit Organizations," nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133.


Records supporting claims under a grant must be maintained for 5 years after termination of the awards.

Financial Information

Account Identification



(Grants) FY 07 $303,423,120; FY 08 est $303,422,950; and FY 09 est $303,423,000.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

In FY 08, the average State grant was $3,460,000. The average new partnership grant was $951,000; the average continuation partnership grant was $1,216,000.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

EDGAR; 34 CFR 694. Contact the program office for information.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office


Headquarters Office

Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education, GEAR-UP, 400 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, DC 20202-5131. Contact: James Davis or Sylvia Ross E-mail: Telephone (202) 502-7676.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

The criteria for selecting among grant applications will normally be selected from those in the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR). Contact the Program Office for more information.

Co-founders William Mann and David Mravyan devised the Sensimat during a mandatory project for their MBA at the Richard Ivey School of Business in Canada. Sensimat is a device that helps manage and assess pressure among wheelchair users.

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