The Richland School District will benefit from an $18 million federal grant aimed at encouraging students to pursue higher education.
Central Washington University received the seven-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education to start a new GEAR UP program in 11 school districts, a press release said. Sixth- and seventh-graders will be the focus of the program.
Other universities, including Washington State University, Eastern Washington University and University of Washington, have had GEAR UP programs in schools throughout the state that encourage students to pursue an education after high school. Several Mid-Columbia middle and high schools have GEAR UP coordinators.
Central Washington's new program, the Success & Opportunity through Affordability, Relevance and Rigor, or SOAR2, will provide classroom and after-school tutors, help students visit college campuses and provide college materials to thousands of students, many in rural areas.
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The grant also will pay for high school teachers to train to teach college-level courses in high schools so the students can take high level courses. It will also bring Central Washington teaching students into classrooms to gain experience and conduct research.
University officials said the new program will "put a college degree within reach of students."
-- Ty Beaver: 509-582-1402; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @_tybeaver