(Carson, CA) California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) has received a $4.5 million GEAR UP program grant from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) to increase the number of low-income students in the Compton Unified School District (CUSD) who are prepared to enter and succeed in college.
The seven-year GEAR UP grant will enable CSUDH faculty and staff to work with CUSD and other entities to create academic development programs and activities for a cohort of advanced underserved students starting in the 7th grade and through their graduation at Dominguez High School. The grant will also provide college scholarships for low-income students.
“Every single time we compete for federal funding we know how steep the competition will be for a limited pool of money. The team and I never take these awards for granted because we know the impact a college education can have on gifted and at-promise students, most notably first-generation students in Compton,” said William Franklin, vice president for Student Affairs at CSUDH. “This GEAR UP grant will allow us to begin working with students in middle school and we will follow the cohort to their first year in college. That’s a game changer!”
GEAR UP is a discretionary DOE grant program that supports states and partnerships by providing funding for programs and services that better prepare students from high-poverty middle and high schools to succeed in postsecondary education. Along with Dominguez High School, the CUSD schools participating in the CSUDH’s GEAR UP projects are Roosevelt Middle School and Whaley Middle School.
As part of the DOE’s program, the partners in the GEAR UP program have committed $4.8 million of in-kind funding to provide staff, supplies, materials, facilities, and mentoring and counseling in the CUSD. The cost sharing will be provided by CSUDH, CUSD, Compton College, The Parent Engagement Academy, CoolSpeak, and Study Smart Tutors.
CSUDH’s has selected three priorities from the DOE’s approved GEAR UP categories to improve student achievement and college preparedness in Compton. Two of the priorities focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning opportunities, and include providing rigorous Advanced Placement (AP) courses in science, math and computer science, as well as dual enrollment tutoring for 9th and 10th graders.
Other STEM-related GEAR UP courses and activities will include a six-week Summer STEM Enrichment Academy at Dominguez High School for students in grades 7 through 12. The academy will teach students creative problem-solving with reinforced mathematics skills taught by professors and experts. Students will also receive computer science coursework, as well as exposure to the fundamentals of programming and creating software, websites, games, and applications.
The GEAR UP partnership’s third priority focuses on fostering knowledge and skills by preparing Dominguez High School students to be informed, thoughtful, and productive individuals and citizens. These courses will support instruction in personal financial literacy, and generate knowledge for students about economics, higher education financing such as student loans and repayment, and other skills aimed at building personal financial understanding and responsibility.
“We are beyond thrilled about the opportunity to partner with Compton Unified School District, Compton College, and local community based organizations to enhance the academic experiences of students in our local service area,” said Matt Smith, interim associate vice president of Student Life and dean of students at CSUDH. “This is a unique opportunity to provide a transformative experience for students, families, and the community.”