The Tennessee Higher Education Commission announced today that the Claiborne County School District is the recipient of a $1.09 million grant over the next seven years to provide services to Claiborne County students and families with the aim of increasing enrollment and success in postsecondary education.
Funding was acquired through Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP), a U.S. Department of Education grant program to increase the number of low-income students enrolling and succeeding in postsecondary education.
The Tennessee Higher Education Commission secured a state grant for GEAR UP TN. After selecting sites through a competitive process the grant was awarded to Claiborne County. The district is one of only 16 counties to receive grant funds from among applications in an August Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) grant competition.
“I’m very excited about what this funding will mean for our students,” said Connie Holdway, director of schools. “There are some great things happening in our schools.”
The Claiborne County School District will form a local, community-based GEAR UP TN Program, directed by Dr. Mata Banks, to provide college access and success-focused services to students as Claiborne County GEAR UP TN schools having either seventh or 12th grade students.
This list includes Soldiers Memorial and H.Y. Livesay Middle Schools; Claiborne and Cumberland Gap High Schools; Midway, Forge Ridge, Clairfield and Powell Valley Schools; home schools to the Claiborne County School District’s students Class of 2018.
Students who are currently in the seventh grade will receive services as a Claiborne County GEAR UP TN cohort through middle school, high school and their first year of postsecondary education. Additionally, each year seniors at Claiborne and Cumberland Gap High Schools will also receive direct services to prepare for college and postsecondary programs through one-on-one mentoring, tutoring, college visits, and financial aid counseling.
Banks has agreed to transition from the Claiborne County GEAR UP TN grant writer to program director to provide for a smooth transition of implementing services that will begin Jan. 1, 2013. Statewide services, provided to all Tennessee students, will include a public outreach campaign and a college access and success website, CollegeforTN.org.
This is Claiborne County’s first GEAR UP TN grant and Tennessee’s second GEAR UP grant. The 2012 award follows the implementation of a successful 2005 GEAR UP grant which resulted in a 22.8 percent increase in college-going rates in nine participating school districts. Tennessee was one of seven states awarded a competitive 2012 GEAR UP grant.
Counties receiving funding through the current GEAR UP TN program are: Anderson, Bradley, Campbell, Claiborne, Davidson/Metro Nashville Public Schools, Grainger, Hancock, Hardeman, Haywood, Henderson, Johnson, McNairy, Robertson, Shelby/Memphis City Schools, Union and Wayne.