""Maine State GEAR UP Program
Creating a College-Going Culture in Maine

Maine currently has 2 GEAR UP grants: 1 state grant, 1 partnership grant.

47 schools from 18 districts are part of Maine State GEAR UP.

Over 5,000 students are currently enrolled in GEAR UP.

Download a 1 page summary (pdf) of the GEAR UP program.



Project Goal

Maine’s GEAR UP Program is helping to create a sustainable culture in schools that supports students who are economically disadvantaged in preparing for, accessing, and succeeding in postsecondary education.



  • Objective 1: Increase the academic performance and preparation for postsecondary education of participating students.
  • Objective 2: Increase the rate of high school graduation and participation in postsecondary education of participating students.
  • Objective 3: Increase educational expectations for participating students and student family knowledge of postsecondary education options, preparation, and financing.
  • Objective 4: To integrate the GEAR UP program into Maine's existing educational infrastructure.
  • Objective 5: Anchor the use of Maine's Learning Technology Initiative and distance learning networks into the GEAR UP program strategies and activities.


Maine has received GEAR UP federal funds since 1999, and is currently in the midst of its second 6-year grant. GEAR UP supports 5,000 students at 49 schools across the state. These schools are in 18 school districts that report over 50% of their student body eligible for free/reduced lunch. Within these schools, eligible 7th grade students from economically disadvantaged families were enrolled and make up the GEAR UP cohort. The current grant ends in 2011 and Maine is once again eligible to apply for this federal grant. If you are interested in having your school district be involved in this program, please contact Beth Lambert, at beth@syntiro.org.

Administrative Structure

The Maine Department of Education’s State GEAR UP Program is administered by staff at Syntiro. Syntiro, in collaboration with Maine Parent Federation, provides support to GEAR UP school administration, staff, and the districts' GEAR UP liaisons through a coordinated, individualized technical assistance model.

For more about the GEAR UP administrative structure, visit About > Administration

GEAR UP Maine Schools

GEAR UP Maine schools are working to ensure that:

  • All 8th grade students develop proficient algebraic skills.
  • All high school students take college courses.
  • All students have personal learning plans that include a postsecondary component which are shared at student-led parent-teacher conferences.
  • All students and their families participate in student-led conferences.
  • All seniors complete at least one application to attend a post-secondary school and file a FAFSA.
  • All schools increase the number of rigorous courses, including AP and college courses.
  • All schools promote high aspirations for all students by facilitating student engagement and achievement in a supportive learning environment.

Schools are implementing the GEAR UP goals and objectives in district-guided plans. Shifting a large portion of control to districts creates a more meaningful and targeted course, which includes: allocation of budget, strategies to achieve end goals, ability to focus on areas of self-assessed need.

Program funds and scholarships are targeted to GEAR UP students, but the practices adopted by schools are intended to be sustainable and live beyond the end of the grant.

To learn more about GU schools, visit Schools.

Funding & Scholarship

GEAR UP has partnered with the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) to provide scholarships to students who graduate high school, meet academic criteria, financial eligibility, and enroll in an eligible Title IV institution in the United States.

To learn more about the GU Maine Scholarship, visit Students > Scholarship


GEAR UP partner organizations include Maine CITE, the University of Maine System, the Maine Community College System, the Mitchell Institute, school administrative units, and the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME), to name a few. To learn more about GU Maine Partners, and see the complete list, please visit About>Partners.

Summary of the Maine State GEAR UP Program (pdf)



National GEAR UP logo
Maine Department of Education Logo Syntiro The Maine State GEAR UP program is funded through a grant (reference #P3345050037; James Davis, Project Officer,) from the U.S. Department of Education to the Maine Department of Education and is managed by Syntiro.
Contact Us Maine State GEAR UP 11 South Road Readfield, ME 04355
p: (866) 291-0004 f: (866) 883-9271 beth@syntiro.org