New Jersey City University Celebrates National GEAR UP Week, September 25-29

September 25, 2023
National Gear Up Week Logo

JERSEY CITY, N.J. | New Jersey City University (NJCU) and its Pre-College: GEAR UP College Bound Program are celebrating National GEAR UP Week, which is being held from September 25-29, 2023. This week commemorates the continuing success of Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) — a college access program providing students and families the support and resources they need for college success. 

Since its inception in 1999, GEAR UP has improved educational outcomes for millions of low-income, minority and disadvantaged students across the United States. This program plays a vital role in empowering local youth, providing resources for higher education, and fostering a supportive community at NJCU as an investment in the community's future success. Currently, NJCU has 170 students enrolled in its Pre-College GEAR UP College Bound Program.

At NJCU, the NJCU Gear Up Pre-College Program is celebrating the week with an inaugural Gear Up Banquet on Thursday, September 28 at 5 p.m. for GEAR UP scholars and their families. For more information on the banquet, call 201-200-2347 or email


Additionally, as part of NJCU’s celebration of National GEAR UP Week, the program has launched a 'We’re Looking for You' campaign to reconnect with alumni of the program. Former GEAR UP students are encouraged to complete their alumni form at

NJCU Interim President Andrés Acebo applauded the program, saying: “Equitable access to higher education and mobility are the hallmarks of our mission as a community-anchored institution, but that mission doesn’t just start the day students enroll at our university. Rather, it’s a community-wide effort that begins when our young people first begin to dream about their futures — a reassurance to students and their families that a higher education is within their reach here at NJCU. I am pleased to celebrate the success of our Pre-College GEAR UP program, which, for two decades, has demonstrated our commitment to eliminate the inequitable and disproportionate barriers to college access for those who aspire to obtain it.”

NJCU alumnus Alan Cruz ‘22, the Assistant Director of GEAR UP Pre-College Programs, said “The GEAR UP program plays a key role in shaping the youth of our community, unlocking their potential and offering them the resources and opportunity to pursue higher education. It's an invaluable investment in our community's future success.”

Jonelle Knox, Ed.D, the Assistant Provost for Academic Affairs, Student Success, and Retention, noted: “We are excited to celebrate Gear-Up Week here at New Jersey City University. The faculty and staff who work in the GEAR Up program at NJCU not only aim to expose and prepare underrepresented kids and young adults to enter college, but they also form a village that supports families. Programs such as GEAR UP are essential to college graduation for future generations.”

NJCU’s GEAR UP College Bound Program is funded by the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs and College Bound grants. GEAR UP is funded by the United States Department of Education through a partnership with the N.J. Office of the Secretary of Higher Education (OSHE) and NJCU. College Bound is funded by The State of New Jersey and administered by OSHE.


GEAR UP provides academic support and college preparation activities to middle school and high school students, the majority of whom are from low-income families and will be the first in their families to graduate from college. These programs guide students on the path to a college or university and provide tools for academic success.

Historically, the GEAR UP College Bound Program has had a long presence at NJCU and within the Jersey City community for over 20 years. In 2018, services came to halt due to loss of funding. In 2020, GEAR UP was re-established in order to continue serving the diverse students and families of Jersey City. The GEAR UP College Bound team provides vital programming and assistance to students and families in the community.

The program serves students in grades sixth through 12th grades who have expressed an interest in attending college and have a grade point average of at least 2.5. Eligible students are in the Jersey City Public School system from schools including Ollie Culbreth, Jr. School PS #14, Whitney M. Young, Jr. School PS #15, Mahatma K. Gandhi School PS #23, Chaplin Charles Watters School PS #24, James F. Murray School PS #38, Ezra L. Nolan School PS #40, Martin Center for the Arts PS #41, Henry Snyder High School, Abraham Lincoln High School, and University Academy Charter High School.

At NJCU, the GEAR UP College Bound program offers a six-week summer program that includes academic classes, individual and group academic advising, conflict resolution classes, mentoring, cultural and educational field trips, parent workshops, recreational activities, performing arts, standardized test preparation, and foreign languages. Additionally, NJCU’s GEAR UP College Bound offers 20 weeks of Saturday classes during the academic year, which builds upon the offerings of the six-week summer program.

To learn more about the national GEAR UP program, please contact the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships at 202-530-1135 or

About NJCU:
New Jersey City University is an institution of higher learning dedicated to the development of our students, our city, our communities, and our state. We are a game-changing force for our students and have been recognized as one of the top colleges in the nation improving their upward economic mobility. Whether enrolled in one of our undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral programs at our three locations, NJCU students have access to an affordable, diverse environment, and an exceptionally supportive faculty. This prepares them to go on to become the next generation of workers and leaders who improve their communities and the State of New Jersey.

Ira Thor
, Associate Vice President for University Communications (interim) | | 201-200-3301