What We Do

Washington State GEAR UP provides funding and support to 26 high poverty school districts in every geographical region of the state. 

GEAR UP focuses on students from low income and underserved communities, many who may be the first person in their family to graduate from high school or go on to college. GEAR UP services begin in middle school, guiding students and families through the early years of college preparation, including the academic, social, emotional, and financial aspects of preparation. GEAR UP ensures that they have access to the people, resources, and the information needed to graduate from high school and continue their education in the postsecondary program or institution of their choice.

We provide access to financial aid resources, but we also teach valuable study skills and provide mentorship opportunities. We believe that personal relationships fuel a student’s desire to go to college and are just as important as academic success.

GEAR UP focuses on preparing students for postsecondary programs by providing:

  • Tutoring and homework assistance
  • Comprehensive mentoring
  • Counseling and advising
  • College and career exploration
  • Financial literacy, financial aid, and scholarship information
  • Summer programs
  • College and career tours and field trips
  • Family events
  • College application support
  • Test preparation and study skills

Washington State GEAR UP has a strong commitment to building the capacity of our school district partners so that they can expand the reach of GEAR UP beyond the eligible student and family population. By providing ongoing, high quality professional development, school staff – from administrators to support personnel –have the knowledge and resources to fully support the aspirations of their students. 

"If a seed of a lettuce will not grow, we do not blame the lettuce. Instead, the fault lies with us for not having nourished the seed properly."

- Buddhist proverb