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US Department of Education Awards $5 Million 'GEAR UP' Grant to UCO

Oct. 2, 2014

Media Contact: Lindsay Houts, Staff Writer, UCO University Relations, 405-974-2121,


The U.S. Department of Education has awarded the University of Central Oklahoma a 7-year, $5 million grant under Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP). GEAR UP is designed to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education.

Federal funding for GEAR UP Central will be matched by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, the Oklahoma Council on Economic Education, MidFirst Bank and UCO for a total budget of $11.4 million over seven years.           

The grant will serve 899 low-income students from high-poverty, low-performing urban middle and high schools in four school districts in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area.           

“As Oklahoma’s metropolitan university, Central takes seriously the responsibility to make higher education more accessible to the state’s students. GEAR UP Central will provide the necessary support for students and families who might not be aware of the resources available for college preparation,” said UCO President Don Betz.           

GEAR UP Central students will receive academic counseling and tutoring, intensive college entrance exam preparation, mentoring, concurrent enrollment opportunities, application and admissions workshops, campus visits, Oklahoma’s Promise workshops and application assistance, financial aid and financial literacy workshops, and more.

“The goal of the GEAR UP Central program is to build systematic change within the target schools, creating a culture transformation that will lead to greater amounts of college-going students who are better prepared for postsecondary education,” said Myron Pope, Ed.D., vice president for Student Affairs at Central.

GEAR UP Central will serve students from Millwood Elementary School, Millwood High School, Del Crest Middle School, Kerr Middle School, Jarman Middle School, Monroney Middle School, Del City High School, Midwest City High School, Crutcho Elementary School, Western Heights Middle School and Western Heights High School.

For information about Central, visit