Connecticut State GEAR UP
GEAR UP stands for "Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs." Supported with federal funds, GEAR UP has two major goals:
to help low-income students prepare for success in college, and
to provide college scholarships for eligible high school seniors.
GEAR UP in Connecticut is a partnership between the Connecticut Department of Higher Education and Bridgeport and New Haven public schools. Begun in 1999 with 7th grade students from 14 elementary and middle schools, GEAR UP now serves students in grade 7 - 12 in 19 schools.
Participating schools include:
Bridgeport: Bassick High, Central High, Cross, Curiale, Dunbar, Harding High, Longfellow, Marin and Roosevelt
New Haven: Betsy Ross Arts, Career High, Clemente Middle, Cross High, Fair Haven Middle, J. Robinson Middle, Hillhouse High, Sheridan Academy and Troup Middle
The MAAX (Maximizing Adolescent Academic eXcellence) – MAAX helps 8th grade students achieve academic excellence and learn about college. Topics include Managing School Transitions, Exploring College, Establishing a Positive Identity and Commitment to Learning. In some schools MAAX is built into the 8th grade curricula. MAAX is soon to be expanded to 9th graders.
Saturday Academy – offers fun, hands-on learning for 7th and 8th graders and their parents in math, science, communications and computer technology. Students explore their cultural heritage, go on field grips, travel to college and career fairs and make lasting friendships.
College Explorations Workshops – early college awareness activities offered for all 7th and 8th graders
Transition Workshops – to help 8th graders improve study skills, select courses and get advice from high school students and counselors.
High School Programs – designed to keep high school students on the college track through college planning, mentoring and SAT preparation (currently under development)
Parent Activities – workshops to help parents become informed, guiding forces in their children's education. Topics include Children and Success, What Parents Should Know; Getting Your Child on the Path to College, Riding the Coaster of Change, A Survival Guide for Middle School Parents and Financial Aid 101.
Summer Programs – a wide range of activities such as fields trips, college fairs and community service. Gateway Community College is home for New Haven's summer GEAR UP program and now offers foreign language and computer technology training. Housatonic Community College helps students explore health careers.
All 7th and 8th graders at participating schools in New Haven and Bridgeport are automatically considered GEAR UP members. Upon entering high school, students must complete a GEAR UP Enrollment Form and participate in GEAR UP activities, to be eligible for possible GEAR UP incentives and scholarships.
GEAR UP College Scholarships are awarded to students from participating schools, after they have been accepted into a college or university of their choice and have received a financial award letter from that school. To be eligible, a student must:
be a United States citizen and a permanent resident of the State of Connecticut and be less than 22 years of age at the time of the first scholarship award,
be enrolled as a full-time freshman at an accredited college or university, and
have demonstrated financial need as documented by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and be eligible for a federal Pell Grant.
GEAR UP College Scholarship applications are available at ConnCAP offices. Program administrators must complete the program verification portion of the application attesting to a student's program participation. Scholarship applications will be accepted from January 1 to March 30.
GEAR UP College Scholarship awards will be forwarded to the recipient's college or university upon notification of the applicant's full-time matriculation in September.
Please contact one of the GEAR UP Network Coordinators or administrators listed below.
Bridgeport: University of Bridgeport 203/576-4214
New Haven: Southern Connecticut State University 203/392-5599
GEAR UP Project Director: Arthur Poole 860/947-1833
GEAR UP Program Manager: Harold "Dean" Davis 203/576-4214
GEAR UP College Scholarship: Judy-Ann Staple 860/947-1853