U.S. Senator Jon Tester and Governor Steve Bullock have secured an important investment for Montana students.
Tester and Bullock today announced that the Montana Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education has received a GEAR UP grant from the U.S. Education Department to increase classroom outcomes, boost graduation rates, and prepare students for college. The GEAR UP grant will invest $3.5 million in Montana students each year for seven years.
“With a quality education, every student can unlock their full potential,” Tester said. “These critical resources will provide Montana students with the tools they need to succeed in the classroom, go to college, pursue a vocational-technical degree or an apprenticeship, and get a good-paying job.”
“Education is one of our great equalizers that sets the foundation for a stronger workforce,” said Governor Bullock. “This is another incredible opportunity to ensure that in Montana every student has endless options for success and to learn and grow in the careers of their choice.”
Montana Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian underscored the importance of the grant.
“Montana’s GEAR UP has had an incredible impact on nearly 8,000 students in 18 communities across the state,” Christian said. “In addition, it provides the funding for 10,000 high school juniors across the state of Montana to take the ACT exam free of charge. This grant is about equalizing education so it is available for all and creating many access opportunities for high school students to continue on in college.”
GEAR UP grants are awarded to states and help increase the number of low-income students who attend college.
The Montana Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education has used previous GEAR UP resources to increase college enrollment rates, advanced placement, dual enrollment, provide ACT exams free of charge for all Montana high school juniors, and professional development courses, as well as provide student loan advice, organize college visits, and host career fairs. GEAR UP resources are available for middle and high school students.
The Trump Administration proposed to gut more than $120 million from GEAR UP funding in 2018. Tester used his position on the Senate Appropriations Committee to fight that harmful budget cut and increase GEAR UP funding last year.