GEAR UP, which stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, is a federal program funded by the U.S. Department of Education. The goal of the program is to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education.
GEAR UP in Waterbury is a partnership between Naugatuck Valley Community, the Waterbury Public School System, and the Greater Waterbury community. GEAR UP is funded through the CT Board of Regents for Higher Education in the amount of $11.2 million over seven years. GEAR UP in Waterbury serves a cohort of approximately 2,300 students across four high schools. Students participate in mentoring lessons once a week during the school day in addition to afterschool programming, academic tutoring and support, and college tours. Summer programming is also offered to students each year on an application basis.