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GEAR UP Kentucky to kick off at EKU; CPE to administer program that includes Covington schools

On Wednesday, Sept. 25, approximately 400 7th-12th-graders from Bourbon County and Paris Independent schools will converge in Brock Auditorium at Eastern Kentucky University to celebrate the official statewide launch of GEAR UP Kentucky.

GEAR UP Kentucky is a seven-year, $24.5 million grant program designed to increase the number of students graduating from high school and transitioning into postsecondary education. The Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) administers the program.

The launch will be live-streamed on the GEAR UP Kentucky YouTube channel from 10:15 – 11 a.m. and will feature speakers Dr. Aaron Thompson, president of CPE, and Dr. Michael Benson, EKU president.

“GEAR UP Kentucky is a game-changing program that will accelerate CPE priorities to close achievement gaps, streamline pathways to and through college, and build awareness that higher education is the key to personal opportunity – that higher education matters,” said Thompson.

Also speaking will be Alexander Alonso-Ibarra, a former GEAR UP Kentucky participant who is currently an EKU junior. Performances by EKU student organizations, as well as videos produced by students and staff in the 10 GUK districts not attending the live event, are scheduled.

Bourbon County and Paris Independent are two of 12 school districts that selected to participate in GEAR UP Kentucky. GEAR UP Kentucky, the sole state grant awarded in Kentucky by the U.S. Department of Education, will serve more than 12,000 students over the duration of the grant.

The other 10 districts participating in GEAR UP Kentucky (GUK) are Bath, Bracken, Fleming, Marion, Mason, Mercer, Pendleton and Robertson counties, and Covington Independent and Frankfort Independent.

GEAR UP, which stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, provides no-cost services to students and their families that support:

• increased academic performance and postsecondary preparation;
• high school graduation and participation in college; and
• student and family knowledge of postsecondary options, preparation and financing.

Nationally, GEAR UP students apply and enroll in postsecondary education at a higher rate than their peers. GUK students will receive services through their first year of postsecondary education.

For more information about GUK, visit the website.

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