Purpose: The Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) 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 Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) partnered with the Maryland Higher Commission (MHEC) to submit an application for the GEAR UP grant from the U.S. Department of Education and was awarded $13.2 million in funding. MSDE was designated as the fiscal agent for the grant program in the state of Maryland. MHEC receives a sub-award from the Maryland GEAR UP grant to provide services that support GEAR UP students in participating school districts.

The Maryland Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) Leadership Development Program supports the advance of leadership curricula, plans and activities designed to help students understand their core values, leadership skills, strengths, and goal-setting for future career plans. Moreover, students are encouraged to examine their interest and hone their leadership capacities by improving their communication and analytical skills. Via the sub-grant, MHEC awards accredited Maryland public or not for profit independent two- or four-year institutions up to $45,000, to serve Maryland GEAR UP school districts in Baltimore City, Dorchester County, and Wicomico County.

Authorization: Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) and Other Applicable Grant Regulations; Super Circular. 2 CFR Part 200, 225, and 230 (OMB Uniform Guidance A-87)

Funded Activities: The GEAR UP Leadership Development Program supports Maryland’s GEAR UP goals and objectives to increase the number of economically disadvantaged students who intended to pursue postsecondary education. Funded activities are intended to provide summer enrichment, skill-building, and inclusive programming to secondary GEAR UP students, while educating students and their families about the advantage of postsecondary education and college financing options. Examples of fundable activities include but are not limited to:

  • Application Workshops;
  • Counseling, Advising, and Career Counseling;
  • Comprehensive Mentoring;
  • Self-Discovery/Career Exploration Workshops;
  • Project Leadership and Management;
  • Ideation, Innovation, and Brainstorming Sessions;
  • Communication Effectiveness Workshops;
  • Cross-Cultural Leadership and Diversity Workshops.

Eligibility: An accredited Maryland public or not for profit independent two- or four-year Institution of Higher Education (IHE). Institution must partner with Local Education Agencies (LEA) to select the required funded activities, and include a completed and signed Cooperative Agreement by the submission deadline. ​

Service Regions: Maryland GEAR UP school districts/Local Education Agencies: Baltimore City, Dorchester County and Wicomico County.

Project Period: June 15, 2018 – August 15, 2019

Award Range: Up to $45,000 may be requested per institution. Four or more awards are anticipated.

Application Due Date: May 7, 2018, at 4:00 PM (electronic and paper submission)

Send application to:
Kendall E. Cook, GEAR UP/CPIP Coordinator
Office of Outreach and Grants Management
Maryland Higher Education Commission
6 N. Liberty Street, 10th Floor
Baltimore, MD 21201
Phone: 410-767-7269​​​​​​​​​

LDP RFP FY2018 (word)
LDP RFP FY2018 (pdf)
Budget Summary (excel)
Budget Summary​ (pdf)