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Gaining Early Awareness & Readiness For Undergraduate Programs

GEAR UP stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs. In collaboration with New Haven Public Schools, it is a new national initiative to encourage 325 young people to have high expectations, stay in school, study hard and take the right courses to go to college.

High-achieving students from low-income families are five times as likely not to attend college as high-achieving students from high-income families. (NELS 1998). In a recent survey, almost 70% of parents indicate that they have little information or want more information about which courses their child should take to prepare for college, including the use of tax credit (Gallup, Sept. 1998).

How can we improve these statistics? We can help families understand early on, while their children are in the middle grades, what will be required of them in order to go to college. Parents and families need to have accurate and clear information about college prep courses and programs for their children. Those who are aware of the many student assistance programs can help educate our families about financial aid opportunities so that no one decides against going to college because of lack of finances.

To be most effective, GEAR UP will be based on the following proven strategies:

  • Informing students and parents about college options and financial aid, including providing students with a 21st Century Scholar Certificate and early notification of financial aid.
  • Promoting rigorous academic coursework based on college entrance requirements;
  • Working with a whole grade-level of students in order to raise expectations for all students;

 Starting with the seventh grade students and continuing through high school graduation with comprehensive services including mentoring, tutoring, counseling and other activities such as after-school programs, summer academic and enrichment programs and college visits.

For more information contact Professor Joy Fopiano at (203) 392-5915.

More information may be found on the Connecticut Department of Education's website at