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US Department of Education Awards $6.1 Million 'GEAR UP' Grant to UCO

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Nov. 16, 2018

Media Contact: Sarah Ward, Communications and Marketing Coordinator, UCO University Communications, 405-974-2106,

US Department of Education Awards $6.1 Million ‘GEAR UP’ Grant to UCO

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded the University of Central Oklahoma a 7-year, $6,115,200 grant under the 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 Connect will be matched by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, MidFirst Bank and the Educational Achievement Services, Inc., the Mid-Del School District, the Millwood School District and the Western Heights School District by an additional $6 million.

The grant will serve 1,092 low-income students from 11 high-poverty, low-performing middle and high schools in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area.

“We are excited to receive the new GEAR UP Connect grant,” said Jackie Tucker, UCO GEAR UP Connect project director.

“Our mission in GEAR UP is to continue to foster the value of education in the communities we serve. We are committed to investing in the aspiration and dreams of the students and families in our programs.”    

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

Additionally, teachers, counselors and administrators at the partner schools will receive professional development in financial literacy to assist with student persistence.

This is the second grant Central had received from the U.S. Department of Education under the GEAR UP Programs. In 2014, a $5 million, 7-year grant was awarded to UCO with matched funds from the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, the Oklahoma Council on Economic Education, MidFrist Bank and UCO for a total budget of $11.4 million.

GEAR UP Connect will serve students from the Mid-Del School District, the Millwood School District and the Western Heights School District.

For more information about Central, visit For more information about the GEAR UP Programs at Central, contact Barry Lofton, executive director for undergraduate admissions and pre-college programs at UCO at