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A partnership comprised of OCAN, the Ohio Board of Regents and the Ohio Department of Education submitted an application on April 8, 2005 for a State GEAR UP grant for Ohio to accelerate the development and implementation of comprehensive programs for improving college aspiration, access and participation among the State’s economically disadvantaged urban and rural students. On August 15, 2005 the Ohio Board of Regents learned that the proposal was fully-funded for $3.3 Million per year for up to six years (all contingent upon GEAR UP’s inclusion in the federal budget each year). The project will combine the program development capabilities of OCAN, the suite of best practices developed through a previous State GEAR UP grant, and the community outreach potential of the newly established Student Access & Success Coordinating Council of Ohio (SASSCO) to serve eight “lighthouse sites” (middle schools in low-income districts and the high schools they feed into).

Approximately 14,000 economically disadvantaged students in eight locations will directly receive comprehensive services through Ohio's GEAR UP state project each year. Five of the GEAR UP “lighthouse sites” are located in major cities with high levels of poverty. Approximately 50 percent of the 8,100 urban students to be served are from minority groups that are under-represented in higher education. The other three “lighthouse sites” are rural/Appalachian schools with high levels of poverty and low postsecondary participation. One rural “lighthouse site” will be located in Adams County—an area served by the first OCAN Regional Center of Excellence Model. 
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