EICC to celebrate National GEAR UP Week



Gear Up LogoEICC to celebrate National GEAR UP Week, honoring program proven to increase college success for underrepresented students 

Eastern Iowa Community Colleges (EICC), a GEAR UP Iowa program site, is excited to celebrate National GEAR UP Week September 21-25. The week commemorates the continued success of Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP), a college access program providing students and families the support and resources needed for college success. 

EICC is celebrating the week with a number of activities, including: 

Administered by Iowa College Aid, GEAR UP Iowa is a federal grant that prepares students from low-income schools districts to enter and do well in college. The 22 million dollar grant serves more than 8,000 students in 12 Iowa districts, including Clinton, Columbus Junction and Davenport. The program follows students from seventh grade through their first year in college. Current students who graduated from high school in 2020 are enrolling in college in 2020-21.Through the program, students and their families receive academic support, college and career exposure, and noncognitive skill development. More than 200 GEAR UP Iowa students are enrolled at Eastern Iowa Community Colleges. 

“By partnering with GEAR UP we've been able to provide numerous educational programming experiences to the participating students since they were in the 7th grade,” said Kelsey King, EICC Admissions and Community Outreach Coordinator. “Some examples include campus tours, presentations, cooking classes and even scrubbing in for surgery in our Surgical Tech lab. It's been very rewarding to help guide the students and families through the college process and showcase opportunities at EICC.” 

In addition to receiving academic support and career exposure, students enrolled in the program are eligible for a scholarship to help offset college costs. 

“Many of our GEAR UP students are first generation with limited resources so any financial assistance is a huge load our students don’t have to carry,” said Brittany Beard, GEAR UP Iowa Coordinator. “The GEAR UP scholarship allows some of our students not to have to pay out of pocket their first year with us!” 

GEAR UP Iowa is just one of Iowa College Aid’s initiatives to raise college attainment rates in Iowa, moving the state toward its goal of 70 percent of the workforce having education beyond high school by 2025. Find more information about GEAR UP Iowa at GEARUPIowa.gov. Find more information about Iowa College Aid at IowaCollegeAid.gov.