GEAR UP is a discretionary grants program of the U.S. Department of Education designed to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. GEAR UP provides these grants to states as competitive six-year matching grants that must include both a scholarship component and an early intervention component designed to increase college attendance and success and raise the expectations of low-income students. The project also provides to partnerships competitive six-year matching grants that must support an early intervention component and may support a scholarship component designed to increase college attendance and success and raise the expectations of low-income students.
FHI 360 has evaluated programs supported by both types of grants since 2001 by providing data collection services and formative and summative evaluation reports, and by assisting grantees with their annual performance reports to the U.S. Department of Education. Currently, FHI 360 is working with Pennsylvania State GEAR UP, serving the school districts of Allentown, Harrisburg and Philadelphia, as well as the Fayetteville State University GEAR UP Partnership in Fayetteville, North Carolina.