About Us



Montana GEAR UP believes that postsecondary education is possible for all Montana students, regardless of economic background. Montana GEAR UP supports schools, students and their families to increase students’ college and career readiness through academic preparedness, postsecondary planning, and financial aid knowledge so that they may succeed in their education beyond high school.


Montana GEAR UP will be the model for elevating the potential of all students to pursue postsecondary success.



Student and School Services

  • Partners with 18 middle and receiving high schools from around the state, 13 of which are located on or near Montana’s seven American Indian reservations, to improve high school graduation and college enrollment rates.

  • Serves students in grades 7 through 12, providing college and career readiness services such as tutoring, financial aid information, dual enrollment, college applications, enrollment in rigorous academic courses, comprehensive mentoring, college visits, supplemental curriculum materials, summer programming, and professional development for school staff.

  • Works with colleges and universities to support GEAR UP college freshman with their transition to and retention in college. 

State Services

  • Fund the ACT + Writing test for all Montana public high school juniors

  • Support for Montana Common Core Standards implementation

  • Implement Montana College Application Week campaign

  • Support Graduation Matters Montana initiatives

  • Funding for the annual Montana School Counselor Association Conference, Montana Indian Education for All conference and the Montana College Access Network


  • The U.S. Department of Education awarded the Montana Office of Commissioner of Higher Education a seven-year, $28 million GEAR UP grant in 2017 (Montana was also awarded grants in 1999, 2005 and 2011).

Goals & Objectives

Goal 1:  Increase the academic performance and preparation for postsecondary education of GEAR UP students

  • Objective 1.1 - Increase student academic performance in mathematics
  • Objective 1.2 - Increase student demonstration of academic preparation for college

Goal 2:  Increase the rate of high school graduation and enrollment in postsecondary education for GEAR UP students

  • Objective 2.1 - Increase graduation rates of GEAR UP students from high school
  • Objective 2.2 - Increase enrollment rates of GEAR UP students in postsecondary education

Goal 3:  Increase GEAR UP students’ and their families’ knowledge of postsecondary education options, preparation and financing

  • Objective 3.1 - Increase student knowledge of available financial aid and the costs and benefits of pursuing postsecondary education
  • Objective 3.2 - Increase family knowledge of available financial aid and the costs and benefits of pursuing postsecondary education

ACT, Inc.

American Council on Education

American Indian and Minority Acheivement Council (AIMAC)

Area Health Education Center (AHEC)

CoBro Consulting

College & Career Readiness Evaluation Consortium (CCREC)

Ecology Project International


Montana Advisory Council on Indian Education (MACIE)

Montana After School Alliance (MTAA)

Montana Association of Student Financial Aid

Montana Board of Public Education

Montana Board of Regents

Montana Chapter of TRIO Aspire (TRIO)

Montana College Attainment Network (MCAN)

Montana Department of Labor

Montana Office of Public Instruction (OPI)

Montana Post-Secondary Education Opportunities Council (MPSEOC)

Montana School Counselor Association (MSCA)

Montana University System (MUS)

National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC)

National Council for Community & Education Partnerships (NCCEP)

National Student Clearinghouse (NSC)

Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education

Paradigm Shift

School Administrators of Montana (SAM)

Student Success Agency (SSA)