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Grant Helps UCR Mentor Pomona Students

Grant Boosts UCR’s Effort in Getting Inland Students into Higher Education

A $4.9 million U.S. Department of Education GEAR UP grant will help provide educationally and/or economically disadvantaged students in Pomona a better chance at college.

(October 17, 2008)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( – A $4.9 million grant to UCR translates into additional mentors for students attending five schools in the Pomona Unified School District. The Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) grant will provide funding for the Early Academic Development Programs (EADP) administered through UCR’s Enrollment Management Department.

UCR is one of 30 grant recipients and will use the funds to support its program focused on increasing participation in higher education and improving high school graduation rates in low performing schools in Pomona. The grant means that $833,000 will be awarded each year for six years as students are mentored from seventh to 12th grade to ensure they successfully graduate from high school.

The five schools receiving services are: Fremont Middle School, Marshall Middle School, Simons Middle School, Ganesha Senior High School and Garey Senior High School. Additional UCR partners include the African Student Programs, the Academy of Learning Through Partnerships for Higher Achievement (ALPHA), Chicano Student Programs, EADP, the Office of Financial Aid, Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) program, and the Office of Undergraduate Recruitment.

“The Pomona Unified School District has a high dropout rate and it starts at the middle school level,” said Frances Calvin, director of UCR’s Early Academic Development Programs. “We start with seventh graders and follow them until the 12th grade. We should be able to make a quite a difference with this group of students.”

Specifically, EADP will be offering additional support to PUSD students by providing UCR students for tutoring during class time, after school, and on weekends in math and language arts. Focusing on students, parents and teachers, the three main components of the program are college preparation, early academic outreach and community service.

In addition to educating students and parents on eligibility requirements for higher education, the program also addresses teacher development. The grant provides funding for a program director, a parent coordinator, a teacher coordinator, a site coordinator, and a student coordinator – all to be housed at the PUSD annex. .

The city of Pomona and the Youth and Family Master Plan Community are also partners in the program.

The GEAR UP discretionary grant program is designed to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. GEAR UP provides six-year grants to states and partnerships to provide services at high-poverty middle and high schools. GEAR UP grantees serve an entire cohort of students beginning no later than the seventh grade and follow the cohort through high school. GEAR UP funds are also used to provide college scholarships to low-income students.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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