The US Department of Education has awarded Alabama State University (ASU) a $24.7 million federal discretionary grant to prepare low-income Montgomery Public School System (MPS) students for college.
ASU announced Wednesday that the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) grant will be disbursed over seven years, providing academic preparation services to thousands of MPS students by 2028.
University Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Carl Pettis has been selected as the grant’s primary investigator. Pettis remarked that he expects the grant to help more than 26,000 students by its final year.
“We are elated that this initiative was funded by the US Department of Education because through this endeavor, ASU will collectively work with Montgomery Public Schools to be change-agents for the academic well-being and continued growth of our MPS students and scholars,” Pettis said in a statement.
Impact on the Community
ASU President Dr. Quinton Ross Jr. lauds the impact of the GEAR UP grant on what he calls ‘CommUniversity,’ since it will involve diverse segments of the Montgomery community working with the university. Recent data shows that MPS students fall below the state average in high school graduation rates and overall college readiness.
“The ASU program will involve collaborations with more than 12 community partners and institutions and five of ASU’s colleges to provide MPS students with services to improve their academic performance, increase graduation rates and promote college exploration,” Ross explained.
“We’re always trying to increase our graduation rate. We’re trying to increase the number of students who go to college. We’re trying to increase those who are ready for careers outside of college,” MPS Superintendent said Dr. Ann Roy Moore. “This gives them an opportunity to be exposed to the different avenues of accomplishing those goals.”