By Jeffrey Dennison, WSU Tri-Cities
RICHLAND, Wash. – Washington State University Tri-Cities recently received a $25 million seven-year GEAR UP grant to prepare students in low-income schools to enter and succeed in post-secondary education.
The Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs project will hire close to 100 new employees to work with students in middle schools.
This is the seventh U.S. Department of Education GEAR UP grant received by WSU Tri-Cities since 2002. Earlier awards have helped the university serve more than 25,000 students in middle and high schools.
Low-income and rural partnerships
The grant goals are to improve academic performance, completion of rigorous courses, knowledge of financial aid and post-secondary education, on-time graduation and post-secondary enrollment.
The grant “will raise student awareness and readiness for post-secondary education and career opportunities,” said Chuck Hallsted, GEAR UP director. “It will really make a difference in our communities, especially for first generation and underrepresented populations.”
The program serves 4,500 students in 10 partner districts: Walla Walla, College Place, Dayton, Prescott, Touchet, Kennewick, Othello, Warden, Moses Lake and Soap Lake.
New staff will provide individual guidance
WSU Tri-Cities GEAR UP staff will assist students beginning in the sixth and seventh grades in the districts’ 14 middle schools. Staff will follow the students through high school and into their first year of post-secondary education, which includes four-year colleges, community colleges and vocational technology schools.
Staff will serve students via in-class tutoring, mentoring, college trips, career exploration, after school programs, summer programs, technology, skill development for success and professional development for teachers.
Staff will work collaboratively with school district partners to ensure an effective team approach, Hallsted said.
News media contacts:
Chuck Hallsted, WSU Tri-Cities GEAR UP, 509-372-7278, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeffrey Dennison, WSU Tri-Cities marketing and communications, 509-372-7319, email@example.com