Campus: CSU Systemwide -- August 26, 2005

State Schools Chief O'Connell Congratulates Winners of Grants to Help Schools Prepare Poor Students for College

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell today congratulated several California educational institutions for being awarded more than $195 million in Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) awards.

GEAR UP is a U.S. Department of Education program designed to help low-income middle school students enter and succeed in higher education. A list of the grantees is attached below.

"These much-needed funds come at a critical time when state budget cuts are affecting the students who need the most help," said O'Connell. "These funds will help kids meet California's high academic standards so they will be successful in school or the workplace without the need for remedial courses."

The grantees will receive the funds over a six-year period. The state grant is administered by the University of California and represents a collaboration among the California Department of Education, representing pre K-12; Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities; California Community Colleges; California State University; University of California; and the California Postsecondary Education Commission. The California Education Round Table endorses and will oversee this state GEAR UP grant. The Round Table is made up of the chief executive officers of these organizations. The state's GEAR UP grant supports services to all California middle schools. Local grants are also for partnerships of K-12 and postsecondary education and focus on specific schools.

"The California State University joins the education community in full support of the GEAR UP program, which is vital to preparing underrepresented students for college, encouraging persistence and ultimately graduation," said California State University Chancellor Charles B. Reed. "Skills gained through this program will reduce the need for remediation, saving students and institutions time and money. This is a program we can all be proud of for what it does for students."

"I am delighted that the federal government has renewed this critical funding to encourage more young people to have high expectations, stay in school, study hard, and take the right courses to stay on track for college," said UC President Robert C. Dynes. "I also very much appreciate the partnership among all segments of California education that advocated for and helped produce this positive outcome."

GEAR UP was authorized in Section 403 of the Higher Education Amendments of 1998. The initiative is designed to give more low-income students the skills, encouragement, and preparation needed to pursue higher education. GEAR UP focuses on middle schools, where California's educational system is showing slow but steady improvement. The program also provides training and development opportunities for educators, teachers, counselors, and families of middle school students, who provide critically needed support to help students succeed. GEAR UP's unique features give California the opportunity to make changes in schools rather than simply prepare individual students for college. Schools and communities work together to create a college-going culture and emphasize that all students master the state's academic content standards.

O'Connell also convened the Superintendent's California P-16 Council last year to increase academic rigor in preschool through grade twelve to better prepare students for college or the workplace, and to help ease students' transition between preschool, elementary, middle, high school, and college.

For more information about GEAR UP, please visit

For more information on the P-16 Council, please visit

CDE Contact: Tina Jung, 916-319-0818,

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