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Sweeney, Cunningham Applaud Acquisition of GEAR UP Grant

Trenton – Senate President Steve Sweeney and Senate Higher Education Chair Senator Sandra B. Cunningham celebrated the acquisition of federal funds from the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The total $35 million grant, $5 million every year for seven years, will be used towards academic and development support services to increase and promote college attendance and success for the most economically disadvantaged students.

“The GEAR UP grant helps underprivileged students in some of the most vulnerable areas around the state. These funds will greatly benefit students in both North and South Jersey institutions of higher education,” said Senator Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “When we give our students the opportunity and the tools to succeed, we become a stronger and more economically competitive state. Senator Cunningham and I will continue to promote more higher education initiatives in the Legislature.”

“It is a known fact that educational attainment is the best way to pull oneself out of the cycle of poverty, and progress down a path of personal and economic success,” said Senator Cunningham (D-Hudson). “Our students are among New Jersey’s most important assets, so it is paramount that we provide them with the assistance and opportunities to achieve their dreams. When our students flourish, we are all better.”

GEAR UP is a discretionary grant program funded by the U.S. Department of Education and administered by the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education. Its goal is to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education.

The NJ GEAR UP State Project currently services seven urban cities, each of which is served by a higher education partner: Atlantic City and Pleasantville (Stockton University); Camden (Rowan University); Jersey City (New Jersey City University); Newark (New Jersey Institute of Technology); Paterson (Passaic County Community College) and Penns Grove/Carneys Point (Salem Community College).