Notice of Potential Funding Opportunity

October 2016

State Agency Name: Washington Student Achievement Council

Funding Opportunity Title: Washington State GEAR UP


The Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) is preparing to apply for a federal Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) grant in spring 2017. GEAR UP is a highly competitive, discretionary grant to fund services to underrepresented students and their families through schools and community support. You are receiving this notification because you may be eligible to be a sub-grantee in this application. This is not a commitment for future funding.


The Washington Student Achievement Council is a cabinet-level state agency established in 2012, replacing the Higher Education Coordinating Board. WSAC provides strategic planning, oversight, and advocacy to support increased student success and higher levels of educational attainment in Washington. WSAC’s College Access and Support programs include GEAR UP, the College Bound Scholarship, the FAFSA Completion Initiative, and the 12th Year Campaign. Since the inception of GEAR UP in 1999, the Governor has appointed WSAC (and formerly HECB) as the lead agency for the state GEAR UP program. WSAC has successfully managed all three previous GEAR UP grants, serving thousands of students, from all regions of the state. WSAC is in a strong position to continue as a GEAR UP grantee.

What is the purpose for this funding?

GEAR UP is a federal discretionary grant program that supports schools to achieve three goals:

  1. Provide students and families with information regarding financial aid for postsecondary education.
  2. Increase the number of students enrolled in rigorous and challenging curricula and coursework in order reduce the need for remedial coursework at the postsecondary level.
  3. Increase the number of students who earn a high school diploma, and enroll and succeed in postsecondary education.

What kinds of activities will this grant support?

Past funding, in the form of reimbursable interagency agreements with school districts, has provided dedicated GEAR UP staff, professional development, goods and services necessary to implement the program, and student transportation.


Any school that houses seventh graders AND has a 50% or higher FRPL population, is eligible and encouraged to apply to be a sub-grantee for WSAC’s next GEAR UP grant application. GEAR UP provides funding to support school-based services to students and their families in high-poverty schools, beginning with seventh graders and following students through their first year of postsecondary education.

What is the Project/Award period?

If WSAC receives a grant award, the program is expected to begin in fall 2017 and continue until summer 2024.

How much funding is available?

Past sub-grant award amounts have varied based on available funding, number of students served, school needs, and program requirements. For reference, the range for past school sub-grantees has been approximately $450 to $1500 per student. In addition, GEAR UP requires $1 for $1 in-kind or cash match according to federal statute. WSAC will provide technical assistance throughout the project cycle to ensure all schools receive support in meeting this match requirement.

What’s next?

  • December 2016:  WSAC will release the Request for Proposals (RFP) to potentially eligible schools. The RFP will outline all of the requirements, program design, and other information needed for schools to determine if they are interested in applying.
  • January 2017: School applicant RFPs due to WSAC. Due date/time will be included in the RFP at the time of release.
  • February 2017:  WSAC will announce successful applicants for sub-grant awards, pending funding notification from U.S. Department of Education.
  • Spring 2017:  WSAC will submit federal grant application to the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Summer/Fall 2017:  The U.S. Department of Education will announce successful grantees.
  • Fall 2017:  WSAC will work with school district sub-grantees to develop budgets and work plans. Program implementation begins.
  • Summer 2024: Project grant cycle ends.

What do you need to do now?

To receive the future communications regarding this funding opportunity and the Request for Proposals, please complete the interest form on our website, HERE.


Please contact:

Marcie Sample
Associate Director for College Access and Support

We also have information about our program, including hundreds of career and college advising resources on our website. Whether you want to be a sub-grantee or not, these are all available to you! Check it out at