Bringing Education to After-School Programs-1999

A r c h i v e d  I n f o r m a t i o n

Think College Early in After-School Programs

"I also ask this Congress to support our efforts to enlist colleges and universities to reach out to disadvantaged children starting in the sixth grade so that they can get the guidance and hope they need so they can know that they, too, will be able to go on to college."

--President Clinton, State of the Union address, 1997 January 27, 1998


Background. Research shows us that almost all students will need at least two years of college to compete in tomorrow?s global economy. However, many obstacles lie in the way of making college a reality for every student.

How to integrate getting students ready for college early with after-school programs. Not surprisingly, many program activities for middle, junior, and high school students that create pathways to college mirror high quality activities which 21st Century Community Learning Centers may undertake. The national goals of increasing college aspirations and preparation are very much in line with the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program?s goals of providing a variety of academic and enrichment activities to students and parents in the communities which they serve. Examples of how your Center can help include:

Three examples of effective mentoring and early college awareness programs that could be combined with an after-school program follow.



As you think about organizing and implementing your after-school program with an emphasis on preparing for college early, here are some materials available on the U.S. Department of Education?s website that can be useful to you:

  • Getting Ready for College Early
  • Preparing Your Child for College
  • Think College? Me? Now?
  • Funding Your Education
  • 1998 Student Guide
  • High School Students, You Can Go to College and Here?s How?
  • Yes, You Can! A Guide for Establishing Mentoring Programs to Prepare Youth for College

If you would like hard copies or if the electronic version is not yet accessible, you can order these materials by calling toll free 1-877-4ED-PUBS, or order on-line by going to

A U.S. Department of Education initiative and getting ready for college early. Along with the many existing federal resources to help kids go to college -- Pell grants, direct lending, work study ? is a new program targeted at middle-school students.

Think College Early. To deal with the challenge of "opening the doors of college to all Americans and making two years of college as universal as high school is today," this initiative is aimed to help middle and junior high school students and their families in the college preparation process. Learn about prerequisite courses, financial assistance, tests you need to take, and other information on getting ready for college.

College is Possible. The Coalition of America?s Colleges and Universities has launched a national education campaign to enhance public knowledge about financing a college education. Nearly1,200 colleges and universities will participate. The campaign, called "College Is Possible," will include efforts by local campuses to reach students and parents in their region supported by a website, the U.S. Department of Education?s special toll-free number for college information (1-800-433-3243), and a comprehensive resource guide.

The GEAR UP program. Research demonstrates the importance of early intervention in boosting students? educational expectations and helping them to get on the right track academically for postsecondary education. The Department of Education?s new GEAR UP program was created in the Higher Education Amendments of 1998, and is modeled after the president?s High Hopes for College proposal and the National Early Intervention Scholarship and Partnership (NEISP) program. GEAR UP, which stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, is based on successful programs such as Eugene Lang?s "I Have a Dream" program and Project GRAD and is designed to encourage more young people to have high expectations, stay in school, study hard, and go to college.

The Fiscal Year 1999 budget provides $120 million for GEAR UP. This funding will be split between partnership grants and state grants, with at least one-third allocated to each. This new competitive grant program supports early college awareness activities and preparation activities at both the local and the state level.

GEAR UP partnership grants. This initiative will award multi-year grants to locally designed partnerships between colleges and high-poverty middle schools, plus at least two other partners -- such as community organizations, businesses, religious groups, state education agencies, parent groups, or non-profits -- to increase college-going rates among low-income youth. To be most effective, partnerships will be based on the following proven strategies:

GEAR UP state grants. These grants will build on the experience of the former state grant program replaced by the GEAR UP program in the new Higher Education Act (HEA) law. GEAR UP State grants will be awarded to states to provide early college awareness activities, improved academic support, information on paying for college, and scholarships. Although few restrictions apply, the proposed programs must treat low-income students as a priority and should be coordinated with the efforts of schools, local community organizations, and colleges and universities. The former state grant program awarded grants to nine states. Several states provided additional academic programs and opportunities with promising results, and several states partnered with other organizations, including foundations and businesses.


Contact and Other Sources of Information:

Program Director: Edward Fuentes, GEAR UP/ Diana Phillips, Think College Early
(202) 205-3687




[ Mathematics in After-School Programs ]
[ Table of Contents ]
[ Teacher Recruitment and Training in After-School Programs ]

Last Updated -- August 30, 1999, (glc)