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MN Office of Higher Education Awarded College Readiness Grant




Contact: Sandy Connolly, Director of Communications
Office of Higher Education
(651) 259-3902

St. Paul, MN - Thousands of Minnesota students will continue to receive guidance on preparing for a postsecondary education as a result of a federal grant recently awarded to the Minnesota Office of Higher Education (OHE).

The U.S. States Department of Education informed the state agency this week they have been selected to receive funding under the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) Program. The grant program is designed to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education.

The Office of Higher Education was designated by Governor Dayton to apply for and administer the GEAR UP state grant.

"I want to congratulate the Office of Higher Education and specifically, the GEAR UP staff, for the outstanding work they do every day with students in our schools who may be struggling and unable to imagine a postsecondary education in their futures," said Governor Mark Dayton. "In just a few short years, over 70% of all jobs will require some level of college completion; as a result of the work being done by the GEAR UP staff, thousands of students across are state will be ready to meet that challenge."

The new six-year grant continues the work that has been done by GEAR UP staff for the past 12 years. During the current school year, 3,700 students in ten high-poverty schools in Minneapolis, St. Paul and Brooklyn Center will receive ongoing, daily college access and preparation programming. Approximately 18,000 additional students will be served in eligible schools throughout the state with outreach programming.

Specific services include academic advising, in-school and after-school tutoring, college planning and postsecondary field trips, and financial aid information sessions for parents and families, to name a few.

Mary Lou Dresbach, director of the program at OHE, said the GEAR UP program, called Get Ready in the schools, is unique from other college  access programs in that they start working with students as young as the 5th grade, providing program services to all the students at targeted grade levels, not just groups of students within a grade.

"Our Get Ready staff is in the classroom, helping students not only believe they can go to college, but encouraging them to make the right choices along the way to make that possible," said Dresbach. "It's a great feeling to know that as a result of this new funding, their important work can continue."

For more information on the GEAR UP program, contact Sandy Connolly at 651-259-3902, or by email at

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