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GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) is a discretionary grant program funded by the U.S. Department of Education and administered by New Jersey Higher Education. Its goal is to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education.

The NJ GEAR UP State Project has been awarded to New Jersey Higher Education in 1999, 2005, and 2011. In its efforts to prepare students for college, the project works with students, families, and teachers in 56 middle and high schools in eight urban centers.

The seven higher education partner institutions encourage students to obtain college degrees by providing: after-school and Saturday tutoring, summer programs, mentoring, counseling, test preparation, information about financial aid, and college visits. The initiative also emphasizes the importance of taking rigorous high school courses to prepare for postsecondary education and includes scholarships for students who attend eligible New Jersey institutions. NJ GEAR UP also provides professional development for educators within GEAR UP target schools.

NJ GEAR UP students are also eligible for the state’s Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) program, which provides financial assistance and support services including a summer program before the freshman year in college. New Jersey's financial aid agency, the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority, partners with NJ GEAR UP to provide information about how to pay for college in New Jersey.

Parents and teachers of NJ GEAR UP students benefit as well. Parents receive early information about postsecondary education options and availability of financial aid, while teachers receive professional development in core content areas.

Read more about the services offered or contact us for more information.

News & Updates

NJ GEAR UP Student wins Scholarship

to Princeton University

College Fair a Success!

Trenton Central High School


GEAR UP Students Learn Crime Scene Investigation at Cumberland County College

College students: become a GEAR UP Mentor

Former students of College Bound and GEAR UP -learn how to participate in the Alumni Network.


NJ GEAR UP State Project Programs

Urban Center
Higher Education Partner

Atlantic City/


Atlantic Cape Community College




Cumberland County College




Rowan University


Jersey City


New Jersey City University




Passaic County Community College




Mercer County Community College




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