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More than 300 Black Belt students to take part in GEAR UP program

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is preparing to welcome more than 300 high school students from the Black Belt region for the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness of Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) program May 13-16.

The program is a collection of mini-camps aimed at informing students on the programs available at UAB.

UAB was awarded funds for the program through the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) in 2014 – now in its fifth year, the GEAR UP program serves roughly 10,000 high school juniors and seniors across the state.

This is the second year that UAB has hosted the event, which will welcome students from Selma High School and other high schools throughout the Black Belt.

During the mini-camp, students will get a first-hand look at college life and learn how to succeed beyond high school.

Students will interact with admissions representatives, explore UAB’s campus, spend the evening in one of the university’s dorms and even attend classes.

Classes will be taught by UAB faculty on topics such as Youth Social Movements, Careers in Language and Language in Careers and more.

GEAR UP Alabama has five stated objectives:

• Increase the academic performance and preparation for post-secondary education for GEAR UP students;

• Increase the rate of high school graduation and enrollment in post-secondary education for GEAR UP students;

• Increase GEAR UP students’ and their families’ knowledge of post-secondary education options, preparation and financing;

• Increase the percentage of GEAR UP students who enroll in and succeed in post-secondary education;

• Increase the preparation of the project’s teachers and staff to teach and serve GEAR UP students.

GEAR UP Alabama is a competitive grant program that provides local community-education partnerships to support high-poverty middle and high school students.

In 2014, UAB was awarded the $60.2 million grant, $24.5 million of which came from the USDOE and $35.7 million which came from donations of money or services.

The program serves 42 schools across 21 school systems throughout the Black Belt.