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Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs is a competitive grant program of the U.S. Department of Education that focuses on increasing the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in post-secondary education. The program serves at least one grade level of students, beginning no later than the seventh grade, and follows the cohort through their first year of college. GEAR UP provides critical early college awareness and intervention services like tutoring, mentoring, academic preparation, financial education and college scholarships to improve access to higher education for low income, minority, disadvantaged first-generation students.

As a part of Academic Success Partnerships, GEAR UP sets out to lay a foundation for the students it serves by creating a group of well-prepared achievers and granting access to those who may not otherwise be college bound. GEAR UP clears the academic pathways to post-secondary success for at-risk students working towards admission to Eastern Michigan and other like universities. GEAR UP provides tools that allow students to thrive in these areas:

  • Post secondary planning (college, military, workforce and entrepreneurship)
  • Life strategies
  • Career mapping
  • Test preparation
  • STEM training
  • Effective learning techniques
  • Dignity, integrity and excellence (self-discipline model)  
  • Social development
  • Core curriculum intelligence (reading, writing and math)
  • Extreme reality exposure (The Real World, Need vs. Wants and Decision Making)

GEAR UP EMU offers an enrichment agenda for our professional partners and parents as well. Those initiatives include:

  • Professional development (national workshops, seminars, invitations to symposiums and conferences)
  • Financial planning workshops and additional topics for parent education


  • GEAR UP EMU serves 1,200 students in three districts.
  • The U.S. Department of Education uses GEAR UP funds to help students in Romulus, River Rouge and Taylor School Districts attend college.
  • 50% of our program is funded by the United States Department of Education, 50% by EMU, school districts and community partners.
  • Program funds are also used to provide college scholarships to low-income students.
  • A six-year grant is provided to states and partnerships to provide services at high-poverty middle and high schools.
  • GEAR UP grantees serve an entire cohort of students beginning no later than the seventh grade and follow the cohort through the first year of college.

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