Mississippi Delta Gear Up

Mississippi Delta GEAR UP

MS Delta Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) is a competitive federal program funded by US Department of Education. GEAR UP provides six-year or seven years grants to states and partnerships to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. Delta State University received its first GEAR UP partnership grant from the U.S. Department of Education in September 2021. The seven-year, $15 million award provides direct services to over 2,700 students and their families each year through partnerships with nine school districts statewide and other strategic partners and stakeholders. The program serves students starting in 6th grade and follows them through their first year of postsecondary education. Services provided include, but are not limited to tutoring, academic counseling, dual enrollment opportunities, career development, financial literacy, and professional development.

Program Objectives

  1. Increase the academic performance and preparation for postsecondary education for students. 
  2. Increase the rate of high school graduation and enrollment in postsecondary education for schools.
  3. Increase students and their family’s knowledge of postsecondary education options, preparation, and financing.
  4. Increase the Career Readiness of Cohort students.  

Benefits to students and families

Students receive support through in class and extended day tutoring and homework assistance, mentoring, and career and college exploration, including postsecondary campus visits. 

  • School districts provide activities to assist students with college applications and FAFSA completion.
  • Schools provide at least three family events per year to increase knowledge of postsecondary options, academic preparation and planning, and financial aid and scholarships.

Strategic Partners and Stakeholders

  • Casey Family Programs
  • Foundation for the Mid-South
  • Cleveland Public School District
  • Greenville Public School District
  • Greenwood Leflore School District
  • Hollandale School District
  • Holmes School District
  • Leland Public School District
  • MS Achievement School District
  • North Bolivar School District
  • Western Line School District
  • Mississippi Delta Community College
  • Tutor.com (Princeton Review)
  • Vela Institute
  • Woodward Hines Education Foundation. 


Executive Director

Dr. Nakisha Watts 
(662) 846-4904
E: nwatts@deltastate.edu

Address and Mailing

Mississippi Delta GEAR UP
DSU Box 3134 CCED
1417 College Street
Cleveland, MS 38733