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Contact:  Kirsten Nelson
(804) 225-2627
For Immediate Release

May 20, 2005

SCHEV Announces Summer Enrichment Programs for GEAR UP Students

RICHMOND —For more than four years the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) has administered the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) project. The purpose of GEAR UP is to increase the percentage of students from low-income families attending Virginia high schools that will enroll, persist, and succeed in college at rates equal to those of middle- and high-income students. Using the cohort approach, the project provides educational assistance to all students in a designated grade level at sixteen selected high schools across the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Each year, GEAR UP students and their parents are encouraged to visit one or more college campuses. During the summer of 2004, almost three hundred GEAR UP students spent a week or more on a college campus, engaged in enrichment programs sponsored by SCHEV. Throughout the 2004-2005 school year, more than seven hundred GEAR UP students and their parents visited college campuses. This summer, SCHEV will work collaboratively with Virginia colleges and universities, as well as community colleges to provide opportunities for GEAR UP youth to attend one of eleven summer programs. Among the four-year institutions that have received grants from SCHEV to host a summer GEAR UP program are Lynchburg College, the University of Virginia, Emory and Henry College, Old Dominion University, Norfolk State University, Virginia State University, Longwood University, and Randolph-Macon College. In addition, two community colleges, Mountain Empire Community College and Tidewater Community College have received SCHEV summer program grants. One organization, Reach for Tomorrow, Inc. received funds from SCHEV and will work with the United States Naval Academy to host GEAR UP students for a week in August. The total cost of the summer programs exceeds $300,000

SCHEV is the Commonwealth’s coordinating body for Virginia’s system of higher education. The agency provides policy guidance and budget recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly, and is a resource for information on Virginia colleges and universities on higher education issues. Agenda materials for the SCHEV meeting are available at

For more information, contact Kirsten Nelson, Director of Government Relations and Communications, at or (804)225-2627.