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GEAR UP TN 2017

GEAR UP TN Logo

Tennessee’s Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs project, GEAR UP TN, will provide up to $9 million in grants to eligible high schools and their partners to implement college access initiatives.

Interested schools should review the following materials and deadlines for the Spring 2018 semester:

GEAR UP TN Collaborative Selection Timeframe
Item Date/Deadline
THEC Releases GEAR UP TN Request for Proposals 01/08/2018
GEAR UP TN Program Overview Webinar 01/18/2018 at 10 a.m. CST
GEAR UP TN Program Overview Regional Meetings 01/23/2018, 01/25/2018, and 01/26/2018
Submission of Notice of Interest 01/31/2018 by 4 p.m. CST
Deadline for Receipt of GEAR UP TN Proposal 02/23/2018 by 4 p.m. CST

If you would like more information about GEAR UP TN and the selection process, THEC staff are hosting several informational opportunities both via webinar and in person. Webinars and in person meetings will provide an overview of the GEAR UP TN program, grant eligibility requirements and commitments, elements of the application, and grantee selection process. While not required, those who are interested in submitting a proposal are encouraged to attend. 

Webinar: Thursday, January 18th at 10:00 CST/11:00 EST. Please click here to register for the webinar. 

Regional Meetings: THEC will host 3 regional meetings across the state during the week of January 22nd. Please click here to register for a regional meeting.

Middle Tennessee: Nashville, TN West Tennessee: Jackson, TN East Tennessee: Knoxville, TN
January 23, 2018 January 25, 2018 January 26, 2018
9 a.m. - 11 a.m. CST 9 a.m. - 11 a.m. CST 9 a.m. - 11 a.m. EST
Belmont University Jackson State Comm. College Sara Simpson
First Lecture Hall
Inman Health Sciences Bldg.
4th Floor
Ayers Auditorium,
McWherter Center
Professional Development Center

This fall, the United States Department of Education awarded a Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) grant to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC). GEAR UP, a seven-year discretionary grant program, aims to increase the number of low-income, first generation students who graduate from high school and enroll in college. Tennessee’s GEAR UP project, GEAR UP TN, will provide direct services to a cohort of 3,250 students, the Class of 2023, beginning in the 8th grade and continuing through the cohort’s first year of postsecondary education. Each year, GEAR UP TN will also provide assistance to seniors with college-enrollment and financial aid processes.

Driven by the belief that every student has the potential to attend and thrive in postsecondary education, GEAR UP TN aims to dramatically increase the number of Tennesseans accessing and succeeding in higher education. GEAR UP TN works with communities through a Collaborative model, where an eligible high schools partners with: 1) feeder middle school(s) with at least 50 percent of students eligible for free or reduced-priced lunch; 2) their local board of education; 3) at least one postsecondary institution; and 4) at least two community-based organizations or local businesses to form a GEAR UP TN Collaborative.

GEAR UP TN Collaboratives are selected for funding through a competitive application process. Each Collaborative will be awarded a subgrant that will allow for the hiring of a program coordinator and the implementation of GEAR UP TN services. These services include, but are not limited to: mentoring, academic interventions, college visits, career exploration, parent workshops, educator professional development, etc.

To be eligible for GEAR UP TN, high schools must meet two requirements: 1) have a college-going rate at or below the state average, based on the most recent three years of data; and 2) have at least 50 percent of students eligible for free or reduced-priced lunch. Based on THEC data, your school meets the college-going rate requirement.

Eligible high schools will partner with: 1) feeder middle school(s) with at least 50 percent of students eligible for free or reduced-priced lunch; 2) their local board of education; 3) at least one postsecondary institution; and 4) at least two community-based organizations or local businesses to form a GEAR UP TN Collaborative.

Multiple eligible high schools within a single school district may partner in forming a GEAR UP TN Collaborative as long as the total 12th grade class size is less than 400 students.