New WSU GEAR UP grant worth $21 million
Tuesday, July 28, 2009 3:42 PM

Wichita State University has been awarded a new renewal statewide GEAR UP grant for seven years, according to U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts' office.

The federal grant, from the U.S. Department of Education, is for $3 million each year for a total of $21 million.

The grant has to be matched from state, community and university funds, making the total value of the grant $42 million.

The grant funding is provided for administering the grant, staffing, services and scholarships.

"Deltha Colvin (director of TRIO programs and assistant vice president for campus life at WSU) and her team should be congratulated on their work in submitting an outstanding proposal and establishing a statewide program that is truly a model for the country," said Ron Kopita, retiring vice president for campus life and university relations at WSU. "Deltha's long and successful work with TRIO grants and her strong working relationship with the U.S. Department of Education clearly played a key role in obtaining this grant."

Ron Kopita
Ron Kopita
According to Kopita, Kansas Kids @ GEAR UP helps students succeed in school and prepares them for college. The program serves K-12 students who are from foster, adoptive and limited income families.

During its first six years, Kansas Kids @ GEAR UP served 5,288 students. Two-thirds of the 2,500 students served in the sixth year were in foster care. All of the students were eligible for free or reduced lunches in their school districts.

Half of the students received tutoring, academic enrichment or homework assistance.

In addition $1.15 million in scholarship money has been distributed so far to participants after they completed their high school diploma or GED. More than 600 individual scholarships were awarded during the past 12 semesters.

Deltha Q. Colvin
Deltha Q. Colvin
"The commitment of Co-PI (principal investigator) Dr. Ronald Kopita and WSU President Donald Beggs has ensured the success of the GEAR UP grant," said Colvin. "Each has protected the trust that then Gov. Kathleen Sebelius placed in WSU to write and host the grant for the state of Kansas. Dr. Kopita has helped to afford many students an opportunity who would not otherwise realize educational advancement.

"The focus on individuals in foster care as a priority has been unique to the Kansas grant. Under the continued leadership of Corinne Nilsen, statewide director, and her staff throughout the state, we are looking forward to a successful next seven years," said Colvin.

Kansas Kids @ GEAR UP targets school districts with a need for services to students who qualify. In order to join the program, students must be in foster care or receive free or reduced lunches, and be located within driving distance of the nearest KKGU office in Dodge City, Emporia, Garden City, Great Bend, Hutchinson, Kansas City, Pittsburg, Pratt, Salina, Topeka and Wichita.

KKGU proposes to increase the number of low-income and students in foster care who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. Services will include both an early intervention component designed to increase college attendance and success, and raise the expectations of these students.

In addition to providing college access services and college scholarships to students each year, KKGU will employ qualified staff in several offices across Kansas.

KKGU includes tutorial support, mentoring, cultural activities, Saturday programs, college preparation and financial aid counseling.

Summer activities are designed to keep students involved in academic and enrichment activities. Participants are able to keep up with their classmates, advance skills and progress toward their aspirations. Academic performance is measured and documented through the database.

About 95 percent of GEAR UP funds are used for student support.

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Contact: Ron Kopita, (316) 978-7006 or ron.kopita@wichita.edu; Deltha Q. Colvin, (316) 978-3314 or deltha.colvin@wichita.edu; or Corinne Nilsen at (316) 978-7810 or corinne.nilsen@wichita.edu.
Created on Jul 28, 2009 3:42 PM; Last modified on Jul 29, 2009 10:53 AM