Partner Schools Gather to Launch New GEAR UP Program

01_GroupBEREA, KY—Superintendents and representatives from 14 school districts met with Partners for Education staff and Berea College President Dr. Lyle Roelofs at historic Boone Tavern today to celebrate the launch of the newest GEAR UP program at Berea College. The recently awarded grant expands Partners for Education’s service region to include Barbourville Independent, Casey County, Clinton County, Cumberland County, East Bernstadt Independent, Harlan County, Jenkins Independent, Letcher County, Lincoln County, McCreary, Middlesboro Independent, Somerset Independent, Wayne County, and Whitley County school districts.

03_Lyle_DreamaRoelofs provided an overview of Berea College’s history and mission, highlighting the institution’s commit to the region. “I’m looking forward to hearing about the positive effect GEAR UP will have in your district,” Roelofs said. “The students and families that benefit by our work will have a long term impact: every time you change the opportunities of one student, you are affecting an entire family. We have many cases of that.  Any of that that happens is great news for Kentucky, great news for the region, for our 8th commitment to Appalachia, and for that, we’re very proud to collaborate with you through the work of our fine Partners staff.”

02_Dreama_LyleDreama Gentry, executive director of Partners for Education, said she was excited to collaborate with the 14 school districts. “We are happy to do this work in these new counties and in these new schools,” she said. “I was once a student from the region, so I am just like these Appalachian youth, and we want to see all Appalachian youth succeed in school.”

Partners for Education will receive $5.5 million annually for the next 7 years from the new GEAR UP grant. The funds enable Partners for Education and their extensive network of strategic partners to provide services to nearly 7,000 students, their parents, and schools. To learn more about Partners for Education’s programs and services, visit: http://partners.berea.edu/programs/.

KHEAA Partner Spotlight

05_KHEAA_TableWe want to take a moment to celebrate the hard work of our long time strategic partner Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority, or KHEAA, to make college more accessible for Kentucky students of all ages. They state their mission as: “Expanding educational opportunities by providing financial and informational resources that enable Kentuckians to attain their higher education goals.”

KHEAA’s informational resources map a large portion of the path to higher education. On KHEAA’s webpage, students and adult learners can find information that will help them plan for higher education, pick out a program, pay for school, and succeed in and out of the classroom.

KHEAA encourages students to start planning for college as early as the seventh grade. Signing up for Your KHEAA College Connection, the organization’s monthly newsletter, is one of the first steps to take. The publication provides information about higher education, financial aid, and financial literacy. KHEAA also provides detailed planning timelines for each year of high school, strategies for entrance and placement tests, and tips on common admission criteria like essays and interviews.

Paying for college can appear daunting; however, there are many resources to make it less difficult. KHEAA helps students and families understand the real cost of college and what resources are available to meet that cost. On their website, KHEAA lists financial aid opportunities and how to apply for them. In addition, KHEAA provides information and strategies to improve financial literacy and money management. Their resources cover loan repayment, budgeting, the difference between debit and credit cards, and how to prevent identity theft.

KHEAA Road ShowKHEAA takes many of their resources on tour with the College Info Road Show. The mobile classroom is equipped with satellite Internet, laptop computers, and indoor and outdoor projectors. These technologies bring the information students need to pursue and succeed in higher education to their communities. To schedule a visit from the College Info Road Show, contact David Scott at dscott@kheaa.com.

KHEAA was established as a public corporation in 1966 to improve access to higher education. To find out more about KHEAA’s efforts or to explore their online resources, visit: www.kheaa.com/website/kheaa/home.