November 7, 2002

Contact: Jeanie-Marie Price, 503-725-3773

45,000 Oregon Students Get College Boost from GEAR UP Grant

Portland, Ore. - Oregon high school and middle school students in 11 counties and 13 separate school districts will be eligible to receive assistance and financial support in going to college under a new five-year grant awarded to the Oregon University System (OUS).

The grant, from the U.S. Department of Education, will provide $12.5 million in funding over a five-year period to establish a GEAR UP program in the state. In addition to the substantial federal support, Oregon partners are also contributing over $13 million of in-kind support. GEAR UP is an acronym for Gaining Early Awareness & Readiness for Undergraduate Programs. Oregon GEAR UP will be a partnership among OUS, the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) and the Oregon Student Assistance Commission (OSAC).

According to OUS Chancellor Richard Jarvis, "Oregon's public universities are excited about this important opportunity to collaborate with many partners in helping Oregon students prepare for and succeed in college." GEAR UP is designed to improve student learning and success. It extends and complements current OUS efforts in student success and learning through the innovative Proficiency-based Admission Standards System (PASS) admission process and teacher training through the Oregon Quality Assurance in Teaching Program.

A broad coalition of Oregon community, professional and educational agencies will be involved in grant activities to provide support and guidance. Jeff Svejcar, OSAC Executive Director, noted "OSAC will build on its strong partnership with the Oregon Community Foundation in an effort to raise significant matching dollars from private donors and foundations for additional scholarships for GEAR UP student participants."

Under the Oregon GEAR UP, students in economically disadvantaged communities will be targeted for special assistance in preparing for college. The grant will support teacher development, help students improve readiness for college, and provide $6.25 million in scholarship support for qualified students.

In addition, the seven universities of the Oregon University System will work directly with the participating schools to build on existing statewide educational programs and to coordinate admission and financial aid assistance.

Other partners in the project include The College Board; ACT; OSAC's ASPIRE Program; the Governor's Office; Oregon Department of Community Colleges and Workforce Development; Confederation of Oregon School Administrators; Oregon Business Council; Oregon Education Association; Mathematics, Engineering & Science Achievement (MESA); and Science & Mathematics Initiative for Learning Enhancement (SMILE).

Schools and communities involved include:

Cave Junction - Lorna Byrne Middle School, Illinois Valley High School
Coos Bay - Sunset Middle School, Marshfield High School
Eagle Point - Eagle Point Middle School, Eagle Point High School
Hermiston - Armand Larvie Middle School, Hermiston High School
Independence - Talmadge Middle School, Central High School
Madras - Jefferson County Middle School, Madras High School
McMinnville - Patton Middle School, McMinnville High School
Oakridge - Westridge Middle School, Oakridge High School
Portland - Binsmead Middle School, Marshall High School; George Middle School, Roosevelt High School; Whiteaker Middle School, Madison High School
Salem - Parrish Middle School, North Salem High School; Stephens Middle School, Waldo Middle School, McKay High School,
Springfield - Hamlin Middle School, Springfield Middle School, Springfield
High School
Woodburn - French Praire Middle School, Valor Middle School, Woodburn
High School


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