Gov. Doug Ducey declared the week of Sept. 21-25 as Arizona GEAR UP Week in the state.

The proclamation coincides with the celebration with National GEAR UP Week 2015. The week commemorates the continuing success of Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduates Programs, 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, is currently working with 18 middle schools and 13 high schools in rural communities across the state to help more than 10,000 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 six 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.

During GEAR UP Week 2015, GEAR UP school partners have planned special events to celebrate the hard work and the progress students are making towards achieving their life-long dream of going to college.