|Loueta Johnson, Director
University of Washington GEAR UP
What is GEAR UP?
Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs
U.S. Department of Education
This discretionary grant program is designed to increase the number of low-income
students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. GEAR
UP provides six-year grants to states and partnerships to provide services at highpoverty
middle and high schools. GEAR UP grantees serve an entire cohort of students
beginning no later than the seventh grade and follow the cohort through high school.
UW Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity
The Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity (OMA/D), located on the main Seattle
campus, implements the University of Washington’s diversity initiatives. OMA/D’s
mission is to ensure the access and academic success of a diverse student population.
As the grant recipient for the GEAR UP Programs, OMA/D administers the program
with its main GEAR UP Management Office in the Yakima Valley. GEAR UP is one of
many programs OMA/D operates that advances the UW’s mission of increasing access
for diverse students going to postsecondary education.
UW Local GEAR UP Management
The University of Washington OMA/D manages two large GEAR UP grants serving
students in Eastern Washington and Skagit Valley. The GEAR UP Management Office
is located in Toppenish, Washington in the Yakima Valley. This GEAR UP Office,
consisting of a Director, Assistant Director and support personnel, provides project
oversight, program management, budget oversight, monitoring of contracts, collecting
of cost share and evaluating of program performance. GEAR UP staff work closely with
an Advisory Committee consisting of representation from all the GEAR UP partners.
The two GEAR UP grants, Two Valleys One Vision and Sky’s the Limit, consist of 14
school districts. Each school district employs a GEAR UP Coordinator responsible for
developing and implementing all the local GEAR UP services and activities.
The GEAR UP Program also includes essential community partners that provide
valuable services to students and parents. These partners range from nonprofit
organizations to private businesses. Their services include workshops on college
preparation/financial aid, counseling/advising, college visits and family events.