Higher Education Dept. awarded $31.4M for college readiness initiative


(image courtesy NM Higher Education Dept.)

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The U.S. Department of Education has awarded the New Mexico Higher Education Department $31.4 million in order to fund the seven-year GEAR UP college readiness program. The New Mexico Higher Education Department reports that the program benefits over 10,000 middle and high school students in students in low-income K-12 districts across the state.

Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) is designed to increase the number of students prepared to enter and succeed in post-secondary education. The program will invest $4.5 million in federal funding annually into 10 communities to support initiatives to help underserved students and their families overcome barriers to higher education.

The GEAR UP funding will provide services for tutoring and mentoring, college and career counseling, financial aid awareness, college tours, in addition to other research-based activities that are designed to help students enroll and succeed in college. The department says the funding also helps to support professional development or teachers, counselors, and administrators in partnering districts.

The fiscal year 2021 award is the fourth consecutive time the U.S. Department of Education has funded the initiative at the New Mexico Higher Education Department since 1999. The department explains that states wanting to implement the program are required to participate in an application process and show ongoing progress on key performance metrics such as the number of students entering college without the need for remediation.

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