Mayor Garcetti Announces Record Investment For L.A.’s ‘Gear Up’ College Readiness Program
LOS ANGELES — Mayor Eric Garcetti today announced a $77.8 million grant to offer free tutoring, college and career counseling, financial aid advice, and other college readiness services to more than 14,000 students in over 60 schools and academies across Los Angeles.
The awards — part of the U.S. Department of Education’s Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) — are the largest received by Los Angeles since the initiative was first authorized by Congress in 1998. These investments will support a broad coalition of 30 educational institutions and college access organizations, including the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the Youth Policy Institute with Bright Star Schools, and nine local colleges and universities.
“A child’s ZIP code should never be a barrier to the dream of a college education, and GEAR UP helps put that goal in reach for thousands of young Angelenos,” said Mayor Garcetti. “With this year’s record-breaking grants, students across our City will receive the guidance and support they need to get into college, earn their degrees, and chart their course into the middle class.”
“Thanks to this grant, over 14,000 students will benefit from direct support that will help them navigate the process of applying for college and preparing for success once they enroll,” said L.A. Unified Board Representative Kelly Gonez. “At L.A. Unified, we know that it’s not enough to get our students to the high school graduation stage — we need to ensure our students are prepared to succeed in college and careers.”
“Reach students where they are, treat their schools as extensions of their communities, offer them the tools to succeed and they will shine,” said Dixon Slingerland, President & CEO of the Youth Policy Institute, which together with BrightStar will provide college counseling services and other academic supports through the GEAR UP grant, in addition to administering the grant overall. “Across Los Angeles, students in GEAR UP classes consistently demonstrate dramatic test score gains. With this grant, we’re proud to add another college-bound cohort to the thousands of kids who know that when they see obstacles on the path to success, there are helping hands to clear the way.”
Mayor Garcetti has made expanding opportunity for the City’s most vulnerable young people a top priority since taking office, with a core focus on connecting underserved families to higher learning and job opportunities, and ensuring every Angeleno has access to a college education.
To that end, in 2016, he launched the L.A. College Promise, which provides two years of tuition-free community college to LAUSD graduates. Since its inception, more than 9,000 students have enrolled in classes, and California is using the City’s success as a model to expand free community college statewide.
The Mayor has also expanded the LA’s Best after school program to provide summer activities and education to 1,000 additional elementary aged students. He’s tripled participation in the Hire LA’s Youth initiative, opening doors to paid professional experience for 17,000 high school and college students, and launched the FamilySource College Corners, 16 of which are in operation, to offer college application assistance to students and their parents.