Maui News

Low-Income Hawai’i Students GEAR UP for College

September 23, 2011, 2:32 PM HST
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By Wendy Osher

UHMC. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Nearly 21,000 students are expected to benefit from a grant for low-income students preparing to enter college in Hawai’i.

“As economic hardships hit households and states tighten budgets across the country, it is important that we continue to make investments in education,” said US Senator Daniel K. Akaka, who joined fellow Senator Daniel K. Inouye in making the announcement today.

A $3.4 million, six-year federal grant was awarded to the University of Hawai’i.  The funds will be administered by the US Department of Education through the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP).

“With this funding, GEAR UP will help to ensure that our disadvantaged and low-income students are better prepared to take advantage of higher education,” said Akaka.

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The grant is aimed at increasing the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in post-secondary education.

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“Unfortunately, about 80,000 public school kids in Hawaii live at or below 185% of the federal poverty level,” said Sen. Inouye.  “The only way to break this debilitating cycle is to teach our young people that education is the way out of poverty, and provide them the means to attain that education so they may improve themselves and our communities,” he said.

In addition to providing college scholarships to low-income students, the GEAR Up program also serves students from seventh grade through high school as they progress towards post-secondary education.

The program funds continue through 2017.

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