Purpose: The Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for UnderGraduate Programs (GEAR UP) is designed to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. GEAR UP provides six-year grants to states and partnerships to provide services at high-poverty middle and high schools. GEAR UP grantees serve an entire cohort of students beginning no later than the seventh grade and follow the cohort through high school. GEAR UP funds are also used to provide college scholarships to low-income students. The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) partnered with the Maryland Higher Commission (MHEC) to submit an application for the GEAR UP grant from the U.S. Department of Education and was awarded $13.2 million in funding. MSDE was designated as the fiscal agent for the grant program in the state of Maryland. MHEC receives a sub-award from the Maryland GEAR UP grant to provide services that support GEAR UP students in participating school districts.

The Maryland Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) Mentoring Program provides Maryland GEAR UP participants with support and access to formal mentoring programs. Via the sub-grant, MHEC awards grants, totaling $120,000, to Maryland GEAR UP school districts in Baltimore City, Dorchester County, and Wicomico County.

Authorization: Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) and Other Applicable Grant Regulations; Super Circular. 2 CFR Part 200, 225, and 230 (OMB Uniform Guidance A-87)

Funded Activities: GEAR UP – funded activities are intended to provide academic support, comprehensive mentoring, outreach and supportive services to secondary GEAR UP students, inform students and their families about the advantage of postsecondary education and college financing options. Examples of fundable activities include but are not limited to:

  • One-On-One, Peer and Group Mentoring;
  • Participation in Career and Technology Education programs;
  • Group college/career tours to a Maryland college and/or business;
  • Exploring career interest by shadowing a professional;
  • Self-discovery exercises focused on personal branding and character development.

Eligibility: Maryland GEAR UP school districts/Local Education Agencies: Baltimore City, Dorchester County and Wicomico County.

Project Period (Year 2): September 26, 2017-September 30, 2018

Project Period (Year 1): August 29, 2016-August 31, 2017

Award Range: The maximum award amount is $40,000 per agency.

For Additional Information, please contact: Benee' Edwards at or 410-767-3377​​​