Iowa College Aid Brings Scholarship Opportunity to Davenport Area Middle School Students Print
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Thursday, 12 March 2009 07:45

GEAR UP Incentive Grants Help Raise Student College Aspiration and Preparation Levels in Iowa

Des Moines, IA., March 11, 2009 – More than 5,400 Iowa middle school students and their families have been given an opportunity to participate in a federal program that promotes student academic success.  The Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Program (GEAR UP) is a federal grant that promotes state and community partnerships to help low-income and minority middle and high school students succeed in planning, preparing and paying for college.  Students eligible to participate in the program will receive scholarships that can be used to pay education expenses at the college of their choice.  Iowa was one of seven states to be awarded a new state GEAR UP grant in 2008 and will receive $2.8 million annually for a total of six years.

GEAR UP Iowa, administered by the Iowa College Student Aid Commission (Iowa College Aid), will provide resources and services to 31 Iowa schools.  The 2008-2009 7th grade students in the Davenport School District, attending JB Young, Frank L. Smart, Williams, and Wood middle schools will receive year-round support in areas such as:

  • Early and ongoing academic planning, counseling, and assessment.
  • Tutoring and mentoring for academic improvement.
  • Information sessions on college admissions and financial aid.
  • Career exposure, job shadowing, and college field trips.
  • Outreach activities that encourage increased involvement for parents and families.
  • Increased access to after-school and support programs.
The program follows the students as they progress from 7th grade to 12th grade.  Upon graduation, each eligible student is guaranteed a portion of the $16.8 million reserved to award college scholarships.  “GEAR UP Iowa will provide life-changing opportunities for many Iowa middle school students,” stated Karen Misjak, executive director of Iowa College Aid.  “This program offers scholarships to those most in need of assistance and at risk of not attending college.  GEAR UP Iowa provides the resources to help students succeed academically and allows them to focus and expand on their life goals.”
GEAR UP Iowa relies on a network of service organizations, schools, colleges, and community members to assist in providing the components needed in building a strong GEAR UP program.  Iowa College Aid’s GEAR UP representatives look forward to developing relationships with the 31 selected schools and their communities.  More information about the GEAR UP Iowa program is available at Iowa College Aid’s website at or by contacting a GEAR UP Iowa representative at 877-272-4456.

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