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Program Overview: What is West Virginia GEAR UP
Program Goals
Frequently Asked Questions
Service Area

What is West Virginia GEAR UP?

West Virginia GEAR UP is a federally-funded, six-year program aimed at "Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs." The program helps students in ten high-need counties plan, apply and pay for training beyond high school.

The program stresses the importance of earning a two or four-year degree after high school, and provides students with resources to help them obtain those degrees. Eleventh and 12th grade students can participate in college tours, college entrance exam and financial aid workshops, and earn $200 or more for college expenses.

The class of 2014 will get even more help from WV GEAR UP. The program’s ultimate goal is to build a sustainable education program that can be implemented statewide. This year’s eighth graders will act as a study group, used to determine what services are effective at increasing high school and college graduation rates.

Students in that class will receive GEAR UP services every year, from now through their graduation. The WV GEAR UP grant will also fund technology for every grade level the class enters, which will provide additional learning tools for students following the class of 2014.

WV GEAR UP will serve more than 13,000 students in Boone, Clay, Lincoln, McDowell, Mingo, Roane, Summers, Webster, Wirt and Wyoming counties from 2008 through 2014.

The West Virginia GEAR UP program is coordinated by the Division of Student Success and P-20 Initiatives within the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission. The Division also coordinates the College Foundation of West Virginia (CFWV), College Goal Sunday West Virginia, and some outreach services for adult learners. The Commission is the coordinating body for the state’s four-year public colleges and universities, and is responsible for developing, establishing and overseeing the implementation of a public policy agenda for the institutions.
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Goals of the Program

Academic Performance and Rigorous Preparation

West Virginia GEAR UP aims to significantly increase both the academic performance and the rigorous preparation of students for participation in postsecondary education.

Enrollment and Success in Postsecondary Education

West Virginia GEAR UP works to increase the number of high-poverty, at-risk students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education.

High School Graduation and Beyond

West Virginia GEAR UP aims to significantly increase the rate of high school graduation and participation of GEAR UP students in postsecondary education.

Family Support

West Virginia GEAR UP works with students' families to significantly increase GEAR UP students'/families' knowledge of postsecondary educational institutions, admissions requirements, and financial aid.

Effective Collaboration

West Virginia GEAR UP staff and coordinating bodies work to ensure the effective efficient and most appropriate use of resources through intentional collaboration with identified partners that are committed to GEAR UP goals.
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FAQs

What is West Virginia GEAR UP?

West Virginia GEAR UP is a federally funded, six-year program aimed at “Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate programs.” The program helps students plan, apply and pay for training beyond high school.

What does GEAR UP provide?

West Virginia GEAR UP will provide:
• Tutoring (class of 2014)
• Mentoring (class of 2014)
• College Visits/Field Trips
• Financial Aid Workshops
• Educational Tools and Technology (class of 2014)
• Career Planning
• Test Preparation/Study Skills Workshops
• Parent and Community Activities
• Awards and Recognition Events
• Financial incentive awards for college

Who is Eligible?

WV GEAR UP serves students in 14 schools within ten high-need counties (including Boone, Clay, Lincoln, McDowell, Mingo, Roane, Summers, Webster, Wirt and Wyoming). Eleventh and 12th grade students in GEAR UP schools from 2008 to 2014 are eligible to receive GEAR UP services. The class of 2014 will also receive GEAR UP services every year through their graduation.

Why these ten counties?

The ten counties were selected based on their score in the Educational Needs Index, a system measuring poverty levels, high school and college graduation rates, household income and other economic indicators. The counties with the most critical ratings in the index, that are not already being served by another GEAR UP grant, were chosen to receive GEAR UP funds.

Why does the class of 2014 receive additional support?

The class of 2014 will serve as a study group to determine the effectiveness of early intervention in providing GEAR UP services. Programs that are shown to be effective in increasing high school and college graduation rates for this class will be considered for statewide policy implementation.

What is the role of the college partners?

Concord University, Glenville State College, and Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College are partners of the GEAR UP grant. Each school provides office space for a regional coordinator, as well as outreach services such as financial aid workshops.
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Service Area

West Virginia GEAR UP currently serves 14 schools within ten West Virginia counties, including Boone, Clay, Lincoln, McDowell, Mingo, Roane, Summers, Webster, Wirt and Wyoming.
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Contact us at (304) 558-0655 or gearupinfo@hepc.wvnet.edu.
West Virginia GEAR UP is coordinated by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.