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More than 6,000 Iowa students now part of GEAR UP program


Iowa College Aid provided an update on progress of its GEAR UP Iowa program as part of the national GEAR UP Week being celebrated Sept. 21-25. The program, which begins with students in seventh grade and assists them through their first year of college, is funded through a federal grant aimed at increasing college access and success for students in low-income school districts. Iowa’s current GEAR UP students graduated from high school this past spring and have just begun their postsecondary education. They include more than 6,000 students from 12 school districts. The current grant is Iowa’s second and serves to move the state toward its Future Ready Iowa goal of 70% of the workforce having education beyond high school by 2025. Among this year’s graduating seniors, 50% of GEAR UP Iowa students had completed a FAFSA [financial aid application] as of July 2 — a gain of 4% from a year earlier at those schools, even as the national FAFSA filing rate fell by 4%. Among the program’s 2020 graduates in Iowa, 88% plan to complete a two-year, four-year or higher college degree.

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