Seminole State College received notification, during September 2017, from the U.S. Department of Education of the renewal of the federal GEAR UP grant. The program will receive $5,605,600 in grant money over the next seven years, beginning immediately.
SSC President Lana Reynolds expressed her appreciation to U.S. Senators Jim Inhofe and James Lankford and U.S. Representative Steve Russell for their perseverance in assisting SSC during the grant application and award process. She stressed the importance of receiving federal money during these difficult financial times. “With our public schools facing loss of revenue from the state, funding services provided to the students and schools in this area is extremely important. Many of these services would not be available, if not through our employees in these grant programs – they play a vital role on our campus and in the community,” she said.
GEAR UP, “Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs,” is designed to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. Student / parent coordinators work with a cohort of students beginning in sixth and seventh grade and mentor that group through their first year of postsecondary education. In 2019-20, cohort students are in the eighth and ninth grades.
The goal of the program is to increase academic performance and the rate of high school graduation and participation in postsecondary education by helping students, their families and the school districts. The program provides workshops, academic enrichment, educational field trips, cultural and family events and information on financial aid and Oklahoma’s Promise.
GEAR UP also provides professional development for educators, training for parents about the importance of secondary education for their children and summer camps for program participants.
“We are so excited to have the opportunity to continue this tremendous program at Seminole State and to continue our work with students in the surrounding schools,” said GEAR UP Project Director Julie Hix.
The GEAR UP grant serves over 1000 students in the following partner schools: Asher, Holdenville, Konawa, Maud, Okemah, Prague, Seminole, Varnum, Wetumka and Wewoka. The program will also work with area business and community partners to provide career exploration opportunities and workshops.
For more information about SSC GEAR UP program for area students, contact the GEAR UP Project Director Julie Hix at 405-382-9681. GEAR UP offices are located in the Dan and Andrea Boren Center.