Posted by: Francis Koster Published: November 27, 2023

Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) Partnership Grants (Exp. May 7, 2024)

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) is inviting applications for FY 2024 Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) Partnership Grants.


The GEAR UP program is a discretionary grant program that encourages eligible entities to provide support, and maintain a commitment, to eligible students from low-income backgrounds, including students with disabilities, to assist the students in obtaining a secondary school diploma (or its recognized equivalent) and to prepare for and succeed in postsecondary education.

Eligible Entities

Under the GEAR UP program, ED awards grants to partnerships consisting of at least one local educational agency (LEA) and at least one degree-granting, higher education institution (IHE).  Partnerships may include not less than two other community organizations or entities, such as businesses, professional organizations, State agencies, institutions or agencies sponsoring programs authorized under the Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership Program (20 U.S.C. 1070c et seq.), or other public or private agencies or organizations (20 U.S.C. 1070a–21(c)(2)).

Eligible (Required) Activities

Partnership grantees must include the following activities in their program for students with low-income backgrounds:

  • Encourage high school enrollment in rigorous and challenging coursework;
  • Provide information about financial aid for postsecondary educations; and
  • Mentoring, tutoring, guidance counseling, financial and economic literacy education, special programs in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM), dual or concurrent enrollment, exposure to college campuses, and other activities that increase the number of secondary diplomas and applications to postsecondary institutions.

Required GEAR UP services are specified in section 404D(a) of the HEA (20 U.S.C. 1070a–24(a)), and permissible services are specified in section 404D(b) of the HEA (20 U.S.C. 1070a–24(b)).


Projects that are designed to accomplish the following outcomes receive additional points from the governmental review committee:

  • Improve students' social, emotional, academic, and career development, with a focus on underserved students, through trusting relationships between students, educators, families and community partners, in education or work-based settings; and
  • Increase postsecondary access, affordability, completion, and success for underserved students through a system of high-quality data collection and analysis (e.g., data on persistence, retention, completion, and post-college outcomes).


Type of Award: Discretionary grants.

Cost Sharing or Matching: 50 percent of the cost of the program (or one dollar of non-Federal funds for every one dollar of Federal funds awarded), from State, local, institutional, or private sources, which may be provided in cash or in-kind.  In-kind matching includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Tuition, fees, room or board waived or reduced for recipients of financial assistance under GEAR UP,
  • Mentoring and counseling provided by volunteers or paid staff of non-school organizations, and
  • Equipment and supplies, transportation, and other in-kind or discounted program services.

Partnerships that demonstrate significant economic hardship may request a reduced match percentage at the time of application.

Est. Available Funds: $40,000,000; contingent upon final congressional action. Estimated Range of Awards: $100,000–$5,000,000.

Est. Range of Awards: $100,000–$5,000,000.

Est. Average Size of Awards: $1,200,000.

Maximum Award: $800 per student for a single budget period of 12 months.

Est. Number of Awards: 34.

Important Dates

Applications Available: March 8, 2024.

Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: May 7, 2024.

Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: July 8, 2024.

Next Steps

For further background information, go to Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (Partnership Grants), or contact Ben Witthoefft, U.S. Department of Education, at (202) 453–7576, or .

To submit a group application, please go to Instructions for Applicants to ED Discretionary Grants

Other Person of Note: Nasser H. Paydar, Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education.

Assistance Listing Number:  84.334A.

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Francis P. Koster Ed.D.

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