WASHINGTON, Feb. 1, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, Congressman Fattah, architect of GEAR UP, announced that the program he helped create early in his Congressional career will receive $21.1 million in new funding. GEAR UP—the nation's most successful college readiness program—was funded at $322.75 million in the FY 16 Omnibus, part of an overall $68 billion for the Department of Education.
Congressman Fattah praised the increase and its role as part of an intensified effort by the Administration to send more low-income students to college. Since GEAR UP's inception in 1998, the program has served more than 13 million students nationwide and received over $5 billion in federal funds.
"We know that GEAR UP works and I am incredibly proud that the program is receiving a significant funding increase in this bill. I am continually inspired by the GEAR UP students and alumni I meet, whose life trajectories have been transformed by the GEAR UP program," Congressman Fattah said. "Ensuring that every student has the opportunity to attend and pay for college continues to be one of my top priorities in Congress. I have every confidence that this new funding will help thousands more students from low-income backgrounds find the support and resources necessary to graduate from high school and pursue secondary education."
The program, which currently operates in more than 40 states, serves students as early as 6th grade by creating a college-going culture in collaboration with schools, colleges, universities, and nonprofits within each community. In Philadelphia there are GEAR UP programs at 35 elementary and middle schools through the School District of Philadelphia. GEAR UP educators are currently in New Orleans for the program's annual capacity-building workshop; Fattah spoke at the annual GEAR UP conference last year.
Fattah is a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, which directs funding to the Department of Education. In addition to GEAR UP, Fattah applauded increases to several other programs within the Department that help students attend and pay for college:
- TRIO received a $60 million increase, for a total funding level of $900 million in program year 2016
- Federal Pell Grants received $22.5 billion in funding. The discretionary funds will enable the maximum grant to increase to $5,915 up from $5,775 in the 2016-2017 school year.
The Congressman also noted increased funding to early-education programs, including Head Start which received a $570 million increase in the FY 16 omnibus, and a $326 million increase for activities within the Child Care and Development Block Grant program.
SOURCE Office of Congressman Chaka Fattah