New grant to aid Kennesaw State’s incoming and first-year students at risk

KENNESAW, Ga. | Aug 23, 2017

GEAR UP Georgia provides statewide funding to increase college access for state’s high-need students

As high-need students transition from high school to college, a $106,000 grant for Kennesaw State University will provide support services to help them earn their high school diplomas, prepare for post-secondary education and adapt to college life during their first years.

The funding for Kennesaw State is part of a larger seven-year, $21 million grant awarded to the state of Georgia by the U.S. Department of Education for GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Program) Georgia, a statewide project to increase postsecondary access and success for students in high-need areas of the state.

Administered by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia on behalf of the Governor’s Office, it is the first statewide grant anticipated to serve more than 12,000 high-need students in over 40 schools in the neediest pockets of Georgia.

Kennesaw State University’s Campus Awareness, Resource and Empowerment (CARE) Services, a program that assists KSU students who are dealing with homelessness and food insecurity, is responsible for implementing the grant in six Georgia counties: Bibb, Cobb, Clayton, Fulton, Floyd and Richmond.

According to GEAR UP Georgia, the goal of the program is to increase the number of low-income and high-need students who obtain secondary school diplomas and are prepared for and succeed in postsecondary education.

At Kennesaw State, the grant will help incoming undergraduate students who have experienced homelessness or have been in the foster care system as they work with the University’s CARE Services to transition from high school to their first year of college.

“I am honored that the Board of Regents has entrusted Kennesaw State to provide this great opportunity to support deserving youth and help them navigate high school and be better prepared for college life,” said Marcy Stidum, director of CARE Services. “The youth I have met so far have been appreciative that the GEAR UP team is making an investment in their lives and future.”

All GEAR UP Georgia students will be provided with supportive services to help them receive their high school diploma, prepare for post-secondary education, prepare for careers and support through their first year of college. 

These support services include a virtual resource center, individualized support through case management, workshops on completing college applications, resume building and interviewing skill development, and providing financial support.

Within each county, community members, service providers and former homeless and/or foster care youth have been asked to join local coordinating councils. These councils have been charged to educate their communities on the prevalence of homelessness and foster care among youth in their counties, the needs of youth warranting support on their trajectory toward higher education, and to advocate to remove barriers existing within their counties that may halt low-income youth from academic success.

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 45,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit