NMHED Awarded $31.4 Million for Seven-Year College Readiness Initiative

NMHED Awarded $31.4 Million for Seven-Year College Readiness Initiative

Santa Fe, NM — The U.S. Department of Education has awarded the New Mexico Higher Education Department $31.4 Million to fund the seven-year GEAR UP college readiness program, benefitting more than 10,000 middle and high school students in low-income K-12 districts across the state.

GEAR UP – Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs – is designed to increase the number of students prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. The GEAR UP program will invest $4.5 Million in federal funding annually into ten communities in support of initiatives to help underserved students and their families overcome barriers to higher education.  The funding also supports professional development for teachers, counselors, and administrators in partnering districts. 

“The GEAR UP program enables us to reach students across the K-12 sphere to raise awareness about the importance of higher education and reduce the burdens that make attaining a college degree so challenging for many New Mexicans,” Acting Higher Education Department Secretary Stephanie Rodriguez said. “Programs like GEAR UP help us close the educational attainment gap and support the wellbeing of New Mexico’s families and communities for years to come.”

GEAR UP funding will provide tutoring and mentoring services, college and career counseling, financial aid awareness, college tours, and other research-based activities designed to help students enroll and succeed in college. The FY21 award marks the fourth consecutive time the U.S. Department of Education has funded the initiative at NMHED since 1999. States wishing to implement the program are required to participate in a competitive application process and show ongoing progress on key performance metrics such as the number of students entering college without need for remediation.

“GEAR UP New Mexico is very excited to receive a new seven-year cycle of funding. This award will help us continue our mission to equip and empower middle and high school students with the opportunities, skills, and knowledge to achieve their career and life goals,” GEAR UP New Mexico Director Corine Frankland said. “We look forward to working closely with school districts to ensure they have the supports necessary to prepare first-generation college students for success in post-secondary education and their chosen career.” 

To learn more about GEAR UP New Mexico, please visit:  https://hed.nm.gov/resources-for-schools/gear-up