The University of Wyoming, in partnership with major state organizations, was awarded a six year, $42 million dollar state-wide Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) grant in 2005. GEAR UP partners include the Wyoming Department of Education, the seven Wyoming Community Colleges, the Governor's Office, the Wyoming Community College Commission, 39 school districts and numerous other local foundations and organizations. GEAR UP, as formulated under the 1998 reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, focuses its primary purpose to provide support and services to low-income students in grades 7-12 to aspire to, prepare for, and to successfully complete post-secondary education.
The GEAR UP Wyoming (GUWY) state grant uses the priority student model for serving a minimum of 2,000 students each year from schools located across the state of Wyoming. Its strategic plan is focused on creating and utilizing statewide initiatives to foster systemic and long-term sustainable improvement in teaching to and learning of low-income, at-risk Wyoming students. The mission of GUWY is to increase the number of low-income students who graduate high school and enter a post-secondary educational institution to improve their access to career and life opportunities. In order to accomplish this mission, GUWY focuses on the priority students with the three goals of improving their academic achievement, raising their academic aspirations along with those of their families, and increasing their awareness of the options in pursuing enrollment in higher education.
GEAR UP Wyoming has partnered with the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) to leverage the Department's statewide initiatives for increasing student achievement among low performing, at-risk students with GUWY's focus on low-income middle school and high school students. These statewide initiatives reflect the need for systemic change across the public education system by providing strategic interventions to students and professional development for teachers.