Oxy, LAUSD Win $16.8 Million Grant
Occidental College, in partnership with the Los Angeles Unified School District, has been awarded a six-year, $16.8 million GearUp (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) state grant to increase the number of low-income students enrolling in college.
It is the third GearUp grant for the partnership since 1999.
The newest award from the U.S. Department of Education, which allots $2.8 million in each of the next six years, will allow Occidental to expand the college prep activities it provides to middle and high school students in northeast Los Angeles. The effort, called Project Higher Learning, also will provide professional development opportunities for teachers to help students pursue higher learning with the help of tutoring and tours of the Occidental campus.
Additionally, there will be opportunities for Project Higher Learning participants to shadow current Occidental students, and take part in a mentor camp and student panels. The grant also will fund teacher retreats, college fairs and high school fairs for middle school students.
The new award allows Project Higher Learning to be offered at all middle and high schools in Eagle Rock, Highland Park, Cypress Park, Lincoln Heights and Glassell Park, forming a cohort of 3,500 seventh graders and 4,400 ninth-graders. The program, which will be added at three middle schools and two high schools, is being offered at Burbank, Nightingale, Eagle Rock, Irvine and King middle schools, and Franklin, Eagle Rock, Marshall and Lincoln high schools.
Many of the participating students will be eligible to go from Project Higher Learning to Occidental’s Upward Bound program, which further helps prepare first-generation college-bound students from low-income backgrounds.
“GearUp is successful because it serves not only the educational needs of an entire cohort, but draws the entire family into the educational process through its parent involvement element,” said Paula Crisostomo, director of community and government relations at Occidental. “We can’t wait to help make these students and their families realize that college can be a reality for them.”