Mt. Healthy City School District is one of only another local public school in the Southwest Ohio region to receive the GEAR UP (“Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs”) grant for students in grades 7-12. This grant opportunity comes from the U.S. Department of Education and Ohio Department of Higher Education. It is designed to help low-income and first-generation college students prepare for college. In addition, students receive the support needed to achieve success in their post-secondary education pathways. The $4 million annual grant, shared among six sites, allows the districts seven years to reduce barriers to college access and assist students by: 

  • increasing the academic performance and preparation for postsecondary education of participating students;

  • increasing the rate of high school graduation and participation in colleges and universities;

  • increasing educational expectations for participating students; and

  • increasing student and family knowledge of postsecondary education options, preparation, and financing.

In cooperation with Mt. Healthy City School District, Cincinnati Youth Collaborative (CYC) will begin using the grant in January, 2022 to assist students heading to college or trade school. The CYC staff will manage and deliver activities and services in conjunction with the district. “The GEAR UP program has a proven record of success, particularly with students in southwest Ohio. Their team will support the work of families, teachers, school counselors, and administrators to create positive post-secondary outcomes for Mt. Healthy students,” stated Brock Kinser, Mt. Healthy Teaching and Learning Coordinator for Secondary. 

Ohio’s GEAR UP state project is focused on embedding a college-going culture in targeted schools and communities to increase the number of low-income students prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. The project goals reflect a commitment to eliminate major college access barriers for priority students to increase:

  • academic performance 

  • preparation for postsecondary education 

  • rates of high school graduation and enrollment in postsecondary education

  • students’ and their families’ knowledge of postsecondary options, preparation and financing. 

Under the current GEAR UP grant, this work is accomplished through a variety of targeted activities, including one-on-one advising sessions, college and career readiness workshops, college campus visits and admissions representative visits, parent engagement opportunities, career exploration, financial literacy lessons, ACT preparation, educational field trips, student leadership, peer mentoring, and financial aid assistance, to name a few. GEAR UP staff work with students in grades 7-12 to help participants create a strong post-secondary plan. Ohio's GEAR UP project will serve approximately 8,000 students enrolled at 17 schools in six diverse communities. 

"Ohio's GEAR UP project will continue to serve students and embed a college-going culture in communities," said Carlos Bing, state director of GEAR UP Ohio at ODHE. "We're pleased that Ohio is able to continue this worthwhile effort to put students on a path to a successful future."