CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon will receive $2.6 million a year for seven years for college readiness initiatives as part of the statewide GEAR UP program, the U.S. Department of Education has announced. Oregon GEAR UP -- which is an acronym for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs -- is a federally-funded college access and success program that increases the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education.

As part of Oregon State University's Office of Precollege Programs, Oregon GEAR UP works with cohorts of middle and high school students over a period of seven years to meet their specific educational needs. Services and activities include academic tutoring, financial literacy, FAFSA completion, college tours, and parent engagement programs, among others. GEAR UP serves students starting in 7th grade, and follows them through the first year of college. The work is carried out by staff in school districts in rural communities around the state, with a variety of supports from the central GEAR UP office and the contributions of many community partners.

"I couldn't be more excited about the opportunity to continue the good work of GEAR UP in Oregon," said Stephanie Carnahan, director of the Oregon GEAR UP program. "Our partnerships with rural communities across the state will make education beyond high school a reality for thousands of additional students."

Activities and services will be concentrated in 21 rural communities, which are expected to serve more than 13,000 students over seven years. Selected as part of a competitive process in the spring of 2014, these communities and schools are:

Bandon: Bandon Senior High, Harbor Lights Middle
Blue River: McKenzie High, McKenzie Elementary
Boardman: Riverside Jr/Sr High
Cave Junction: Illinois Valley High, Lorna Byrne Middle
Chiloquin: Chiloquin Jr/Sr High
Cottage Grove: Cottage Grove High, Kennedy High, Lincoln Middle
Culver: Culver High, Culver Middle
Dayton: Dayton High, Dayton Jr. High
Elgin: Elgin High, Stella Mayfield Elementary
Gold Beach: Gold Beach High, Riley Creek Elementary
Klamath Falls: Klamath Union High, Ponderosa Junior High
La Pine: La Pine High, La Pine Middle
Lebanon: Lebanon High, Seven Oak Middle, Pioneer School, Hamilton Creek School, Lacomb School
Lincoln City: Taft High
Lowell: Lowell Jr/Sr High
Myrtle Creek: South Umpqua High, Coffenberry Middle
Newport: Newport High, Newport Prep Academy
Oakridge: Oakridge High, Oakridge Junior High
Rogue River: Rogue River Jr/Sr High
Stanfield: Stanfield Secondary
Umatilla: Umatilla High, Clara Brownell Middle

In addition to these communities, Oregon GEAR UP serves 14 additional middle and high schools in Coos, Curry and Douglas counties that are supported by The Ford Family Foundation. The central office also provides resources to all schools across the state and coordinates statewide college readiness efforts such as College Application Week. Since 2002, the GEAR UP program has supported more than 32,000 students in 83 schools.

"Over the years, I've met many students involved in the GEAR UP program and I can tell you first-hand this program makes a difference," said Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR). "The students I met prove that given the opportunity, every child in Oregon has the potential to get a college degree and contribute to our increasingly sophisticated and knowledge-based economy. The GEAR UP program is not only good for Oregon families but also for our country's economic future."

Oregon GEAR UP is a federally-funded program designed to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enroll and succeed in college. For more information go to:


Stephanie Carnahan, GEAR UP Director, 541-346-5761, 

Dana Beck, GEAR UP Program Manager –541-737-2922

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