Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is GEAR UP Virginia?

A. Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) is a federal initiative that encourages young people to stay in school, study hard, and take the right courses to go to college. The program provides a range of services to students by creating or expanding programs to strengthen economically disadvantaged schools. It also offers professional development for teachers and programs to educate parents about the advantages of postsecondary education.

Q. Who administers GEAR UP Virginia?


A. The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) was designated by former Governor Timothy Kaine as the state agency responsible for administering the GEAR UP Virginia grant.

Q. What criteria were used to select GEAR UP Virginia school divisions?


A. The criteria used to select school divisions was based on federal guidelines that stipulated the percentage of students attending a middle school within a school division who qualify for free or reduced lunches. Only those schools with 50% or more of their seventh-grade students who qualified for the Federal Free and Reduced Lunch Program were eligible for consideration to participate in GEAR UP Virginia.

Q. Which counties are currently involved in GEAR UP Virginia?


A. County school divisions include: Buchanan, Charlotte, Chesterfield, Cumberland, Grayson, Greensville, King and Queen, Nottoway, Patrick, Pittsylvania, Prince Edward, Prince William, Pulaski, Scott, Smyth, Sussex, Washington, and Westmoreland. City school divisions participating in the program are: Charlottesville, Danville, Hopewell, Lynchburg, Martinsville, Norton, and Petersburg.

Q. Some school districts have their own GEAR UP grant. Are they different from GEAR UP Virginia?


A. The U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) provides two types of GEAR UP grants: grants to states and grants to partnerships. A partnership grant consists of one or more local school districts, one or more higher education institutions and at least two other partners (local community organizations, businesses, religious groups, college student organizations, state and local education agencies, and parent groups). Currently, there is one partnership grant in Virginia. Partnership grantees apply for a GEAR UP grant independently of the state grant and are accountable to the USDOE for meeting grant objectives.

Q. What is the relationship between the state grant and the partnership grant?


A. While local partnership grants are independent of the state grant and accountable for meeting their own grant objectives, every effort is made to prevent duplication of effort. One of the goals of the state grant is to cooperate with and enhance local partnership grants.

Q. Who are the non-school partners and what is their role?


A. Non-school partners are organizations other than schools or postsecondary institutions that assist the state in providing GEAR UP services or resources to students, parents, or teachers.

Q. How can I become a non-school partner or sponsor?


A. There are many opportunities for businesses, non-profit organizations, and other entities to become involved. Contact Gary Krapf, Director of GEAR UP Virginia at (804) 786-1448 to learn how you can become a GEAR UP Virginia partner or sponsor.