Policy Studies Associates

College and Career Readiness




PSA is serving as evaluation partner for the seven-year GEAR UP grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Education to Grand Island (NE) Public Schools (GIPS). Through GEAR UP, GIPS aims to work with a cohort of at-risk, low-income, and under-served students from middle school through postsecondary enrollment, to (1) increase academic performance and preparation for postsecondary enrollment; (2) increase the rate of high school graduation and participation in postsecondary education; and (3) increase educational expectations of students and families, and their knowledge of postsecondary education options, preparation, and financing. PSA is conducting surveys of parents and youth of a cohort of students who will be supported from middle school through postsecondary enrollment; conducting site visits and interviews with GEAR UP district leaders, staff, and community stakeholders. As part of the evaluation, PSA will also analyze GIPS student performance data and data from the National Student Clearinghouse to assess whether students are on track for both high school completion and postsecondary enrollment and retention. The goal of the evaluation is both to provide feedback to GIPS leaders to improve and refine program supports in each year, and to support the district’s annual reporting requirements to the Department.