President Clinton: Helping Disadvantaged Youth


May 19, 2000

Today, President Clinton will visit Sulzberger Middle School to highlight GEAR UP, a Clinton-Gore initiative that provides mentoring, tutoring and financial support to keep at-risk students on the track to college. He will visit the first class of Philadelphia GEAR UP students and present a GEAR UP student with a 21st Century Scholar Certificate. In addition, he will announce $185 million in 21st Century Community Learning Center grants to fund after-school programs in 900 schools. He will also call upon Congress to fully fund his education initiatives. This year, Republicans are threatening to cut the President's important education initiatives, including GEAR UP and 21st Century Community Learning Centers.

HELPING DISADVANTAGED STUDENTS ENTER COLLEGE THROUGH GEAR UP. GEAR UP, or Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, was first proposed by President Clinton in his 1998 State of the Union address and enacted with broad bipartisan support in October 1998. It is a initiative to give hope, raise expectations, and create college opportunities for disadvantaged children. It supports partnerships of schools, colleges and universities, and community organizations to strengthen academics and tutoring, raise expectations, provide college visits and counseling, and often provide college scholarships to nearly 450,000 middle school students this year. It also funds state efforts to promote college awareness and provide scholarships for needy students. Over 1,000 organizations are GEAR UP partners, including colleges and universities, libraries, arts organizations, and chambers of commerce. Next academic year, GEAR UP will serve over 750,000 students, and President Clinton requested $325 million in FY 2001 to serve 1.4 million children. GEAR UP was inspired by businessman Eugene Lang's I Have a Dream Foundation and also modeled on Project GRAD.

PRESIDENT CLINTON WILL PRESENT GEAR UP CERTIFICATES TO PHILADELPHIA SEVENTH-GRADERS. The 21st Century Certificates raise college aspirations and provide early notice of the substantial federal assistance available for college costs, helping families understand that college is within reach. Representative Chaka Fattah was the first to see the potential of 21st Century Scholar Certificates to inspire at-risk students and the leading congressional advocate for the enactment of GEAR UP.

PRESIDENT CLINTON WILL ALSO ANNOUNCE $185 MILLION IN AFTER-SCHOOL GRANTS. Today, President Clinton will also announce $185 million in new grants for 21st Century Community Learning Centers. These grants will support after-school and summer school programs in 48 states. Funding from the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative provides safe, high-quality after-school and summer school programs for more than 850,000 students in rural and urban communities nationwide. Summer school and after-school programs help give students extra support and assistance to master challenging academic standards and allow school districts to raise standards the right way — by ensuring that all students can meet them.

PRESIDENT CLINTON WILL CALL ON CONGRESS TO INVEST IN EDUCATION, INCLUDING GEAR UP AND 21ST CENTURY COMMUNITY LEARNING CENTERS. In order to pay for risky and fiscally irresponsible tax cuts, the Congressional Republican budget proposes to cut investments in domestic priorities $29 billion below the President's level, an average cut of 9 percent. For education this results in insufficient funding for urgent school repair, smaller class sizes, to strengthen accountability and turn around low-performing schools, or for other important school reform efforts. For example:


GEAR UP is creating college opportunities for at-risk youth.

The College Opportunity Gap Is Real.

GEAR UP's Approach Is Unique Among Federal Programs. GEAR UP complements existing federal programs by:

GEAR UP is Modeled on Proven Programs. Evaluation research on existing programs demonstrates the value of and the need for the GEAR UP approach. Evaluation research on existing programs demonstrates the value of and the need for the GEAR UP approach.

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