GEAR UP Appalachia, GEAR UP Promise Neighborhood

Berea College has been awarded two seven year (2011- 2018) GEAR UP grants from the U.S. Department of Education. GEAR UP, or 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. Berea College got its first GEAR UP grant in 1999 in partnership with Rockcastle County Schools. In 2005, Berea was again awarded a GEAR UP grant, this time expanding its work to include students from Berea Community, Estill, Jackson, Lee, Madison and Rockcastle counties. This latest grant follows a cohort of students from 6th grade to their freshman year in college and emphasizes academic success, career preparation, and building a college-going culture in schools.

Program Goals

  • To increase academic performance and college readiness
  • To increase high school graduation rates and college-going rates
  • To build and enrich a college-going culture in the schools and communities we serve

Services Provided

In-school tutoring; summer programs; career exploration; test preparation; college visits; career site visits; mentoring; educator professional development; parent activities; and Families and Schools Together (FAST) programs.

Service Impact

GEAR UP serves 17 southeastern Kentucky counties and 19 school districts: Bell County, Berea Community, Breathitt County, Clay County, Estill County, Garrard County, Jackson County, Jackson Independent, Knott County, Knox County, Laurel County, Lee County, Leslie County, Madison County, Owsley County, Perry County, Powell County, Pulaski County and Rockcastle County. Programs from this grant serve more than 14,000 students and their families.