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About the Program

Supporting students and families in South King County

GEAR UP is a federal grant, funded by the Department of Education, that provides middle and high school students from low-income families the support they need to access and succeed in college. In 2018, The University of Washington received a seven-year grant to work with four districts in South King County: Auburn, Kent, Renton, and Tukwila.

We began our work in sixth and seventh grade and have followed students for seven years. We provide resources and support as they transition from middle to high school, graduate from high school, and enter and succeed in college.

In 2018, 4,303 sixth and seventh graders and their families from nine middle schools got the resources and support they need to begin their pathway to college. By 2020, 70% of new jobs in Washington State required a college degree or certificate (school after high school). In GEAR UP we help students access two-year, four-year, and technical schools. Washington State ranks second in the country for jobs in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). That’s why our GEAR UP program is focused on helping students from South King County enter STEM fields.

GEAR UP Achievers Schools by District

All 11th and 12th grade students enrolled at the following schools are part of the GEAR UP Achievers cohort, with the exception of the Kent district, in which only 12th graders are part of GEAR UP Achievers.

  • Renton: Lindbergh High School, Hazen High School, and Renton High School
  • Tukwila: Foster High School
  • Kent: Kent-Meridian High School, Kentridge High School, and Kentwood High School
  • Auburn: Auburn High School

Diversity at the University of Washington

At the University of Washington, diversity is integral to excellence. We value and honor diverse experiences and perspectives, strive to create welcoming and respectful learning environments, and promote, access, opportunity and justice for all. Read more about diversity at the University of Washington

We would like to remind students and families that GEAR UP Achievers provides a safe space for all students, including those seeking status. All students at the eight high schools are eligible to participate in GEAR UP regardless of citizenship status. 

Student and Family Support for Undocumented Students

We are committed to serving the needs of underrepresented minority students to enhance equity and student success. WA state students are eligible for state financial aid using the WASFA and the College Bound Scholarship, regardless of citizenship status. We also encourage undocumented students and undocumented and/or mixed status families to contact GEAR UP Achievers Director Roslyn Kagy (, 206-221-5306) if you would like to speak with someone to express your concerns regarding the current sociopolitical climate or to be in solidarity with folks that have your best interest at heart.