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June 24, 2024

MSU program receives Champion award for helping prepare low-income students for post-secondary education

MSU’s Office for College Access Initiatives was recently honored with the College Access Champion Award by the Capital Area College Access Network for its Michigan GEAR UP programming.

MI GEAR UP, or Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, is designed to increase the number of low-income students entering college and better prepare them for post-secondary education.

“The overarching goal is to equip students with the tools necessary to positively impact the world around them,” said Stephanie Anthony, director of OCAI. “GEAR UP and CapCAN have worked together for more than ten years to provide educational tools for students to graduate high school and transition to a higher education institution or the workforce.”

OCAI’s GEAR UP team works with Lansing area middle and high school students from schools in which 50% or more of students are eligible for free or reduced lunch. The program begins in seventh grade and students are followed through their first year of college.

“We’re very proud of the work our GEAR UP team does in providing awareness and exposure to continued learning opportunities for students in Lansing and the surrounding areas,” said Kwesi Brookins, vice provost for University Outreach and Engagement (UOE), the office where OCAI is housed. “We’re thrilled to see their hard work being recognized through the College Access Champion Award.”

GEAR UP provides early intervention services in two key areas:

  • Early college exposure: Financial aid/admissions information, college choice, and other information to help students prepare to pursue post-secondary education.
  • Readiness for undergraduate programs:  Skill-building and academic preparedness, including literacy, critical-thinking skills, study techniques, and test-taking strategies.

OCAI offers additional opportunities and services to increase the number of students from disadvantaged backgrounds who complete high school and enroll in post-secondary institutions, including counseling and guidance, college visits and tours, mentoring, career exploration, and support to families.

This story originally appeared on the University Outreach and Engagement Website.

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