State Council of Higher Education for Virginia

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GEAR UP Virginia

About the Program

In effort to increase student college enrollment and success and to transform the lives of low-income families and their communities, GEAR UP Virginia (GUV) began offering college preparatory services and skills development to a cohort of seventh-grade students at 28 middle schools in 15 school districts beginning in 2014-15. These students will receive support through their first year of college, following high school graduation in 2020. Beginning in 2015-16, GUV also offers critical college preparation services annually to up to 50 homeless youth (priority students), during their senior year at four high schools, and support them through their first year of college.*

Goals and Objectives: Goals are to: 1) increase the academic performance and college preparation of GUV students; 2) increase the number of students in rigorous courses; 3) increase knowledge of college and financial aid among students and their families; 4) improve college readiness rates; and 5) increase college enrollment rates.

Number of Students Served: GEAR UP Virginia currently serves 4,307 eighth-graders and up to 50 Priority Population homeless students annually for six years (up to 300 total).

Activities and Services: GEAR UP services include: 1) tutoring and mentoring; 2) summer programs to promote transition to high school and, later, transition to college; 3) professional development for teachers in core academic areas; 4) college and financial aid awareness workshops for students/parents; 5) visits to a variety of colleges; 6) counseling and advising related to college and career; 7) academic services in high school so that students do not need remediation in college; and 8) outreach to help high school graduates as they transition to postsecondary education.

According to our most recent survey, GUV students and parents found college visits, educational field trips, tutoring, and financial workshops most helpful for helping students decide what to do after graduation.

GEAR UP Virginia Student Demographics (based upon 2015-16 Annual Performance Report):

  • 7% of students are considered to be Limited English Proficient (LEP)
  • 12% of GUV students have an Individualized Educational Program (IEP)
  • 9% of GUV students are Latino
  • 53% of GUV students are African American
  • 71% average free/reduced lunch eligibility rate amongst GUV schools

GEAR UP Scholarship: GUV students are eligible to receive a one-time award of up to $2,000 and no less than $600 for one term, depending on their college enrollment level (full-time, three-quarter-time, half-time, and less than half-time).

GEAR UP Virginia Quick Facts (based upon 2015-16 Annual Performance Report):

  • 97% of GUV students were promoted to the 8th grade at the end of last school year.
  • 33% of GUV parents participated in at least one GEAR UP activity in the past year.
  • 50% of GUV students visited a college campus in the 8th Grade.
  • 3 GUV students will represent Virginia in July 2016 at the National GEAR UP Youth Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C.
  • 2 GUV parents will represent Virginia in July 2016 at the National GEAR UP Parent Leadership Institute


GEAR UP Virginia 2014-2021 Participating Divisions

GUV Divisions by School and Superintendent Region

School Division

Superintendent Region

Charlotte County

8 - Southside

Charlottesville Public Schools

5 - Valley

Covington Public Schools

6 - Western

Danville Public Schools

6 - Western

Dinwiddie County Public Schools

1 - Central VA

Fredericksburg Public Schools

3 - Northern Neck

Harrisonburg Public Schools

5 - Valley

King & Queen County Public Schools

3 - Northern Neck

Lynchburg Public Schools*

5 - Valley

Newport News Public Schools*

2 - Tidewater

Petersburg Public School*

1- Central

Roanoke Public School*

6 - Western

Suffolk Public Schools

2 - Tidewater

Sussex County Public Schools

1 - Central

Westmoreland County Public Schools

3 - Northern Neck


*Divisions participating in the homeless youth services pilot initiative (priority)

Partners:   Virginia Department of Education, Project Hope – Education for Homeless Children and Youth, University of Virginia, University of Richmond, Virginia State University, Virginia Tech, Old Dominion University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Mary Baldwin College, Virginia Community College System, Virginia Latino Higher Education Network, Virginia College Access Network, ACT, College Board, Virginia College Savings Plan, participating school districts and other program stakeholders from surrounding communities.

News Releases About GEAR UP Virginia

Governor McAuliffe Announces Federal Grants to Help 6,000 Students Gain Access to Higher Education
U.S. Department of Education announces GEAR UP grants awards

Contact Us

Email Addresses:

Program inquiries:

Scholarship inquiries: 
or visit this page

Mailing Address:
State Council of Higher Education for Virginia
GEAR UP Virginia Programs
(or GEAR UP Virginia Scholarship)
101 N. 14th Street
James Monroe Building, 10th Floor
Richmond, VA 23219 

Phone: (804) 225-2600

Fax: (804) 225-2604

For GUV Coordinators
2016 Policy and procedure manual pdf formatGUV Policies and Procedures Manual (Updated Oct. 2017)

2018 Open House Dates pdf format 2017-18 College Open House Dates

2015-16 Annual Performance Summary pdf2015-16 Annual performance summary

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© 2017 State Council of Higher Education for Virginia
101 N. 14th Street, 10th Floor  |  James Monroe Building   |  Richmond, VA 23219

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