Gov. Jan Brewer has declared the week of Sept. 22-26 as Arizona GEAR UP Week in the state.

The proclamation coincides with the celebration of National GEAR UP Week 2014. This week commemorates the continuing success of Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduates Programs (GEAR UP), a national program intended to help low-income students graduate from high school prepared to succeed in college.

Arizona GEAR UP, now in its third round of federal funding, has worked with 67 schools in 26 communities across the state to help more than 12,000 students and their families prepare, apply and pay for college.

“The work of GEAR UP is a clear example of the commitment of Northern Arizona University to the success of all of Arizona’s young people,” said Daniel Kain, NAU vice provost for Academic Personnel and principal investigator for the program.

GEAR UP’s numbers speak to the program’s success. In 2012, the graduation rate for GEAR UP students who had been in the program for size years was 83 percent, compared with a statewide average of 73 percent, and the college enrollment rate was 72 percent, compared with a statewide average of 51 percent.

In July, Teena Olszewski, executive director of Arizona GEAR UP who has guided the program’s statewide efforts since 2002, was named the 2014 GEAR UP Professional of the Year by the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships.