GEAR UP Program
Oklahoma GEAR UP is a federally funded program administered by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. It partners with 24 school districts across the state and benefits more than 21,000 students each year. The program works within schools and communities, providing activities that help students better prepare for and succeed in college. We help students and families prepare for college through preparation and planning resources, readiness tools and scholarship opportunities.
GEAR UP helps prepare middle and high school students for college through academic preparation programs and scholarships for students, professional learning opportunities for educators and college access information for students and parents. It does so through a college access information plan that targets 7th through 12th grade students, their parents and teachers, and includes new, innovative ways of providing information about college to Oklahoma residents. We communicate through websites, hotlines, publications, mobile applications, onsite events and social media.
For students, Oklahoma GEAR UP helps provide OKcollegestart.org, Oklahoma's official website for planning for college. GEAR UP also produces materials, social media messages and mobile app messages that emphasize college as an attainable goal and highlights the importance of preparing for college at an early age.
For parents, GEAR UP helps provide three guides on gearing up for college — a guide for parents of 8th grade students, for parents of 9th and 10th grade students, and also for parents of 11th and 12th grade students. Each version targets appropriate grade levels and includes information on the role parents play in the preparation of their child for college, the economic benefits of obtaining a college degree, the high school courses required for college entry, admission standards, college costs, financial aid, etc. GEAR UP also helps provide parent financial aid nights at our 24 schools where parents can visit with experts on financial aid, paying for college and the Oklahoma's Promise scholarship program.
Oklahoma GEAR UP is committed to helping students better prepare for college by offering training and professional development opportunities for teachers and school administrators in selected GEAR UP School Districts. Professional development opportunities focus on improving student success through techniques such as curriculum enhancement, vertical teaming, working with special populations, data analysis and academic improvement.
GEAR UP also helps provide Parent Leadership Academies. This program engages parents to become better informed about education so they have the necessary skills to forge the parent-school-community partnerships essential to improving academic achievement for students.
We also offer Plan4College Centers throughout the state. GEAR UP partnered with several libraries and schools across the state to create Plan4College centers that provide families and students with a local, one-stop shop for their college information needs. The centers are stocked with knowledgeable coordinators, computers and handouts to help build college-bound communities across the state.
GEAR UP encourages students to take advantage of the Oklahoma Promise Scholarship Program, a unique opportunity for 8th, 9th and 10th grade Oklahoma students that will help pay for their college education if their family’s income is $50,000 or less and they meet certain academic and behavior requirements.