Oklahoma Higher Education Campus E-Clips sponsored by the Communicators Council

October 2011

Eastern Awarded More Than $12.6 Million GEAR UP Grant

The U.S. Department of Education recently awarded Eastern Oklahoma State College a more than $12.6 million federal GEAR UP grant that will help 2,357 area students prepare for college. The grant is the largest in Eastern’s history.

Eastern is one of only 47 nationwide grant awardees for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP), a federal initiative to increase the number of low-income students who enter and successfully transition into postsecondary education.

Eastern President Dr. Steve Smith said the college will receive $12,652,000 over the next seven years to help students receive the support they need to achieve success.

“We are very fortunate to have received this highly competitive grant award. It will extend the academic preparation for the students in our partnering public schools,” Smith said. “I want to commend Vic Woods, vice president of student affairs, and the GEAR UP staff for all the preparation and data collection it takes to write such a grant. Linda Morgan and her staff did an excellent job throughout this process. We also greatly appreciate the continued support of Sen. Jim Inhofe and Congressman Dan Boren.”

The GEAR UP grant, which starts immediately, will serve current sixth- and seventh-grade students throughout high school graduation and college admission. The grant serves 30 partner schools in six counties, including Antlers, Atoka, Bokoshe, Buffalo Valley, Canadian, Clayton, Crowder, Frink-Chambers in McAlester, Haileyville, Hartshorne, Indianola, Keota, Krebs, LeFlore, McAlester, McCurtain, Moyers, Panama, Panola, Pittsburg, Quinton, Rattan, Red Oak, Savanna, Spiro, Stringtown, Talihina, Tannehill, Whitesboro and Wilburton.

Eastern will also partner with the Oklahoma State Department of Education, the Choctaw Nation and several other area organizations and businesses that will provide matching local contributions and in-kind services.

Partners will work together to provide students and their families with a range of support services needed to prepare for college. Some of the services and activities include tutoring, mentoring, counseling, career advisement, college preparatory courses, summer camps, educational and cultural field trips, and information about college and financial aid options. Teachers and school administrators can also participate in professional development opportunities and technology training. All activities and workshops will be provided to GEAR UP partner schools at no cost.

GEAR UP Project Director Linda Morgan said there were 262 national applications for the competitive grant program. The University of Oklahoma was the only other college or university from Oklahoma that received a partnership grant.

“We are very honored to receive the new grant award. We worked very hard to ensure we submitted the most complete, compelling proposal as possible,” Morgan said. “We are excited to begin our second grant and we have a GEAR UP team who is ready to serve.”

Eastern is currently in its sixth and final year of a $6.7 million GEAR UP grant that the college received in 2006. It currently serves 11th- and 12th-grade students at 23 partner schools.

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