What is GEAR UP?

Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) is a federal program that supports students from low-income communities, many of whom may be the first person in their family to graduate from high school or go on to college. GEAR UP services begin in middle school, guiding students and families through the early years of college preparation, including the academic, social, emotional, and financial aspects of preparation. GEAR UP ensures students have access to the people, resources, and information needed to graduate from high school and succeed in postsecondary education.


By using an empowerment model that recognizes the assets and needs of local communities, U-M Ann Arbor GEAR UP looks to increase the number of Michigan students from low – income communities who are prepared to not only enter but succeed in postsecondary education.

Headshot for Laura Saavedra

For more information, contact:

Laura Saavedra

Program Director​

"Through this program, CEO will continue to support and endeavor to increase the number of students from limited-income backgrounds who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. To do this, it will tap into the power of relationships and connections, bringing together the people in a student’s community to create an elevated level of support."

- From the GU Program Directors Letter

Headshot for Laura Saavedra
GU Schools
0 +
GU Scholars
0 %
Free/Reduced Lunch
0 +
Service Hours

Meet our GEAR UP Team!

GEAR UP: Conoce al Equipo


     •  Family Workshops

     •  Advisory Board

     •  Family Led-events and Activities

     •  College Campus Visits (in-person and/or virtual)

     •  Financial Education Services

     •  Social & Emotional Learning

     •  Social Justice Leadership

     •  Positive Youth Development

     •  College Positive Identity Development

     •  Mental Health/Trauma-Informed Care & Support

     •  Service Learning/Volunteer Projects

     •  Soft Skills Development

     •  Individual Success Plan (academic & social)

     •  Technical Skill Development

     •  Academic Advising, Study Skills & Test Prep

     •  Tutoring & SAT Prep

     •  Mentoring through EduGuide

     •  Financial Literacy

     •  Career Awareness & Job Shadowing Experiences

     •  College Prep

     •  College Campus Visits (in-person and virtual)


We believe in education’s transformative power and work towards equitable and culturally relevant educational opportunities for all students. College (which for us means any kind of postsecondary education or training) opens doors by giving students the knowledge and skills needed for personal and professional success. 

We recognize self-advocacy as a major key to success and understand the importance of developing this skill early so that students can advocate for themselves in college or the workplace. 

We are committed to preparing students for postsecondary success by delivering academic, social and emotional, and financial support services. 

We are dedicated to providing healthy, safe, and supportive learning environments for all. When students feel like they belong in school, they are more motivated, engaged, and ultimately show higher performance.

Signature Experiences

Activities include mentoring, tutoring, counseling, workshops, and visits to post-secondary institutions and community businesses. These visits will reinforce our student’s educational pursuits. 

Summer activities allow students to keep up with classmates, advance skills, build confidence, and progress toward their educational goals.

Staff and volunteers will offer innovative team building and instruction on social justice leadership to excite students about their educational journey.

Toolkits with instructions on preparing for college admissions and saving for college are designed for middle and high school students.

Through mentoring opportunities, students will interact with individuals who support and encourage their educational, career, and personal goals. 

Cultural enrichment activities enhance student social and emotional growth while promoting positive identity development. 

Our Schools

  • César Chávez Academy High School
  • Osborn High School
  • River Rouge High School
  • Southfield High School for the Arts & Technology
  • Alice M. Birney K-8 School
  • César Chávez Middle School
  • Glenn W. Levey Middle School
  • Pulaski Elementary-Middle School
  • River Rouge CB Sabbath Middle School
  • River Rouge STEM Academy at Dunn
  • Thompson K-8 International Academy

From our Team