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May 6, 2016 - GEAR UP Alumni Leadership Academy Class Announced

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The National Council for Community and Education Partnerships (NCCEP) has announced the 30 members selected for the fourth inaugural class of the GEAR UP Alumni Leadership Academy (GUALA). GUALA is a highly selective program that provides 12 months of training and mentoring for GEAR UP Alumni Leaders around the four pillars of the GUALA mission to advance the college and career readiness of students in their communities: peer outreach, social media activism, public speaking, and issue advocacy.  

Yearlong training will occur through a number of online platforms which focus on local efforts that Alumni Leaders will spearhead during their year of service. In addition, Alumni Leaders will attend an intensive leadership development training week in Washington, DC from June 12-18, where they will interact with national policymakers and leaders.
The 2016 GUALA class includes the following outstanding GEAR UP Alumni Leaders from Oklahoma:

“We are thrilled to welcome the 2017 class of the GEAR UP Alumni Leadership Academy. These rising leaders exemplify the spirit of GEAR UP,” said Ranjit Sidhu, NCCEP President and CEO. “Each of these students were inspired and supported by the GEAR UP program to dream bigger, take the right steps to prepare for higher education, and give back to their community. We look forward to sharing their powerful stories with you and the rest of the community.”

Throughout the year, Alumni Leaders will help lead local, statewide, and national efforts to educate the community about the positive impact of GEAR UP on their ability to apply, enroll, and succeed in postsecondary education.

“We are pleased that four Oklahoma GEAR UP students have been chosen to take part in GUALA,” said Oklahoma higher education Chancellor Glen D. Johnson.  “GEAR UP has been assisting students in Oklahoma since 1999 by providing resources, information and tools to help them better prepare for college. We congratulate these four students for this national recognition of their outstanding efforts to prepare for college and become leaders who inspire others to prepare for college, as well.”

A generous grant from the Kresge Foundation provided the funding to launch the GEAR UP Alumni Leadership Academy in 2013 and support the activities of this year’s class of Alumni Leaders.

“At a time when a college education is more important than ever, these 30 young leaders are helping to ensure that every young person who wants to go to college gets that chance – and knows what path to follow,” said William F. L. Moses, managing director for the Kresge Foundation’s Education Program. “Kresge is delighted to support the Alumni Leadership Academy and the important work of NCCEP and GEAR UP as they seek to educate more Americans to help us become a more just and globally competitive nation.”

GEAR UP, or Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, is a federally funded college access and success program serving approximately 551,000 low-income students across 43 states and the Federated States of Micronesia. GEAR UP programs typically begin providing services to students in the 6th or 7th grade, and continue to serve and support those students through high school graduation or the first year of postsecondary education. GEAR UP programs are designed to meet local needs, and include services such as academic tutoring, financial literacy, FAFSA completion, college tours, parent engagement programs, and more.

Oklahoma GEAR UP is administered by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. Since 1999, Oklahoma has received three consecutive, multiyear, statewide GEAR UP grants and has helped improve educational outcomes for thousands of Oklahoma students. For more information, visit

Oklahoma GEAR UP is a federal grant program administered by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. The U.S. Department of Education awarded Oklahoma with state GEAR UP grants totaling $20.5 million in August 1999, $20.6 million in August 2005 and $35 million in September 2011. The grants have been matched by more than $48 million from state and partner resources. From 1999 to 2011, GEAR UP received more than $45.6 million in federal funds. With the addition of the 2011 grant, Oklahoma’s GEAR UP program will ultimately receive more than $80.6 million in federal funds by 2018.

NCCEP is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to the fundamental principle that every child deserves an equal chance to obtain a high-quality education. NCCEP establishes community-education partnerships, strengthens research-based college access programs, and develops tools and resources to provide educational opportunities for all students. For more information, please visit