January 11, 2011/GEAR UP Incentive Grant Helps Raise College Aspiration, Preparation Levels in Tulsa
The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education’s GEAR UP program recently awarded a $70,000 subgrant to the Community Action Project of Tulsa County (CAP). The funds are helping students and families prepare for college through programs that provide access to financial aid, mentoring and tutoring services, college campus tours, individualized counseling and academic planning.
Tulsa County’s CAP is working with community partners to expand programs and services that help raise college aspirations and encourage student participation in Oklahoma’s Promise.
Oklahoma GEAR UP, a federally funded program administered by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education that helps students and their families prepare for college, awarded the grants through the Raising College Aspirations Community- and Faith-Based Organization (CBO) Incentive Grant Program. The main objective for all subgrantees is to facilitate enrollment in Oklahoma’s Promise, a college access scholarship program that allows high school students from families whose annual income is $50,000 or less and who meet certain academic and conduct requirements to earn free college tuition.
“Oklahoma is fortunate to have a scholarship program like Oklahoma’s Promise that provides many students with the financial support needed to obtain a college education. By working together with organizations at the local level, we create awareness for the program and strengthen college opportunities for eligible students,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “Through our combined investments of time, money and dedication, we are able to open the doors for many more students and help them continue on their path toward the successful completion of their degrees.”
Since 2005, the GEAR UP “Raising College Aspirations” grant projects with community- and faith-based organizations have involved 33 community organizations, 21 institutions of higher education and 58 public schools. These partnerships have resulted in 6,377 students enrolling in the Oklahoma’s Promise scholarship program.
This year, CAP is continuing its program by partnering with Tulsa Public Schools and Oklahoma State University – Tulsa. The project provides assistance on preparing for college and enrolling in Oklahoma’s Promise to students and families from six high schools – Central, Nathan Hale, Will Rogers, Daniel Webster, East Central and McLain. The project utilizes freshman orientation, back-to-school events, sporting events, and parent/teacher conferences to distribute college preparation materials.
In addition, an outreach coordinator makes presentations during classes, participates in meetings and events with students, parents and counselors, and conducts one-on-one meetings along with phone assistance to help answer parents’ questions and aid with the completion of applications. The subgrant also funds college campus tours and career planning events. CAP distributes information to all Tulsa Public Schools in order to promote free tax-preparation assistance in conjunction with Oklahoma’s Promise enrollment.
“This important work could not be done without our community partners.” said Johnson. “Their efforts in encouraging and helping students prepare for college is both valuable and commendable as we strive to create a greater future for our students and our state.”
Other 2010-11 CBO subgrant recipients include: Greater Oklahoma City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Oklahoma City; Prospect Missionary Baptist Church, Oklahoma City; St. John Christian Care Center, Oklahoma City; and Star Spencer High School Parent, Teacher, Student Association, Spencer.
For more information on GEAR UP or Oklahoma’s Promise, visit www.okhighered.org or call (800) 858-1840.
View list of funded program descriptions.
The U.S. Department of Education awarded Oklahoma with state GEAR UP grants totaling $20.5 million in August 1999 and $20.6 million in August 2005. The grants have been matched by more than $47 million from state and partner resources. With the addition of the 2005 multi-year, federal grant, Oklahoma's GEAR UP program will ultimately receive more than $45.6 million in federal funds by 2011. GEAR UP receives 49 percent of total funding from the federal government and 51 percent from other organizations.