The U.S. Department of Education has awarded a $5.2 million Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs partnership grant to the University of California, Irvine. This supplements a GEAR UP grant of $5.4 million awarded to the UCI Center for Educational Partnerships in the fall of 2018.
The goal of GEAR UP grants is to provide multiple services to schools in socioeconomically disadvantaged communities that will help prepare students for college and success. The new funding is scheduled to end in 2028, guaranteeing 10 years of direct support for under-resourced students in Compton.
“We are thrilled to be awarded this highly competitive grant again to accelerate and expand our work with longtime CFEP partners in the Compton Unified School District and at Compton College. It represents the confidence of the U.S. Department of Education in the work currently underway and an increased investment in the innovative work still to come that’s needed now more than ever before,” said Dr. Stephanie Reyes-Tuccio, UCI assistant vice chancellor for educational partnerships, referring to the fact that the educational access crisis has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The objective of UCI’s initial GEAR UP project was to increase opportunities for Compton students by giving them and their families the tools and information to plan for, enter and complete a postsecondary education. Now project leaders have recognized the critical need for college access programming across the Compton district. “Teachers and counselors are working toward providing students with an excellent education, but there are broader systemic barriers that prevent them from doing that,” said Dr. Rodolfo Acosta, UCI’s GEAR UP director.