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About Gear UP TN

What is GEAR UP TN?

GEAR UP TN is a federally funded college access program that aims to expand the college-going culture in Tennessee and empower students to succeed. Funded through a seven-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education and administered by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, GEAR UP TN works with Collaboratives in counties across the state to promote college readiness and success. These Collaboratives receive direct services through the GEAR UP TN grant. GEAR UP TN also aims to provide educators, parents, and students across the state with resources and information on the college-going process.

The GEAR UP TN grant is administered by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission's College Access and Success Division, which also houses a number of other initiatives focused on college access and success. 

Currently, GEAR UP TN serves communities through two GEAR UP grants: the GEAR UP 2012 grant and the GEAR UP 2017 grant.  

GEAR UP Partnership Information 2020

Learn more about the GEAR UP Partnership Grants 2020.


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Mission, Goals, and Objectives


GEAR UP TN aims to expand the college-going culture in Tennessee. By using an empowerment model that recognizes the assets and needs of local communities, GEAR UP TN looks to shift the state’s educational culture. We aim to develop long-term, successful partnerships to support students in reaching college and providing them with the resources to succeed in college.


The goals of GEAR UP TN are to:

  1. Increase the academic performance and preparation for postsecondary education for GEAR UP students.
  2. Increase the rates of high school graduation and enrollment in postsecondary education for GEAR UP students.
  3. Increase GEAR UP students’ and their families’ knowledge of postsecondary education options, preparation, and financing.


GEAR UP TN’s programmatic objectives are to:

  1. Increase student academic achievement and course completion.
  2. Increase student performance on college entrance exams.
  3. Increase student high school graduation.
  4. Increase student postsecondary participation and success.
  5. Increase student and family educational expectations.
  6. Increase student and family knowledge of and access to financial assistance for postsecondary education.
  7. Increase parent and community engagement in activities associated with student preparation for college.
  8. Increase educator content-area knowledge and understanding.