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

May 2013

Eastern’s GEAR UP Grant Program Provides Free Laptops to 485 Local High School Seniors

The Eastern Oklahoma State College GEAR UP team has been busy delivering laptop computers and backpacks to local high school seniors of the 2006 GEAR UP for a Brighter Tomorrow grant.

The Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) is a federal initiative to increase the number of low-income students who enter and successfully transition into postsecondary education. Eastern received its first GEAR UP grant in 2006. The six-year grant officially ended Aug. 31, 2012.

“Unfortunately, this year we are not allowed to serve the youngest group in the grant — the current seniors,” explained GEAR UP project director Linda Morgan. “However, we were able to negotiate with our program officer in Washington, DC, to present these students with a wonderful opportunity.”

Each qualified student received a Hewlett Packard laptop, complete with Microsoft Office loaded on it, and a laptop backpack as a carrying case. They also received a CD from Texas Instruments with software that may be loaded onto the laptop to accompany the TI calculators they received as freshmen.

The GEAR UP grant provided laptops, software and backpacks for 485 GEAR UP students from 18 partner schools, including Antlers, Bokoshe, Buffalo Valley, Canadian, Clayton, Crowder, Indianola, Keota, Kiowa, LeFlore, McCurtain, Moyers, Panola, Pittsburg, Quinton, Red Oak, Whitesboro and Wilburton.

“We are giving you a tool,” Morgan added. “It’s like a chisel that can be used to shape and mold your future. Whether that future is going to college or entering the workforce, this laptop can be a valuable asset in your success. I hope you take this as seriously as we did when we asked for permission to purchase them for you, as the federal government did in approving the purchase.”

Students were required to show a photo ID before accepting the laptop and backpack. They also signed a declaration that they will not sell or give the laptop to anyone for three years or they will be liable for the cost of the laptop and backpack.

“We are so excited to present this gift to these wonderful seniors,” Morgan said. “We wish them luck in their future endeavors and hope they will always know that the GEAR UP team really cares about their future.”

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