Gear Up

What is GEAR UP?
Student Brochure
Parent Brochure

Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) is a competitive grant program of the U.S. Department of Education that increases the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education by providing States and local community-education partnerships six-to-seven year grants to offer support services to high-poverty, middle and high schools.

What is the GEAR UP Last-Dollar Tuition Waiver?

The GEAR UP Last-Dollar Tuition Waiver is a last-dollar waiver available to the members of the GEAR UP Alabama (GUA) and the GEAR UP Birmingham (GUB) cohorts who enroll no later than August of their 11th grade year, maintain active enrollment until successful completion of high school, and meet the specified criteria for college admission at any community or technical college within the Alabama Community College System (ACCS). The GEAR UP Last-Dollar Tuition Waiver is also available to the parent/legal guardian(s) of a GUA or GUB student. 

Eligibility Requirements

  • Must graduate as an active member of a GUA or GUB cohort from a participating school.
  • Must enroll full time (12-15 hours) at any community or technical college within the Alabama Community College System the fall semester following high school graduation.
  • Must meet all admission requirements at the desired public community or technical college in the state of Alabama.
  • Must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (
  • Must meet all Federal Financial Aid requirements (outstanding verification documents, SAP, default, etc.).
  • Must demonstrate financial need (have a tuition balance remaining once all federal/state grant funding, scholarships, and gift aid have been applied towards the student’s tuition institutional fees balance).
  • Must be a resident of Alabama/or active military with a child who is a member of the GUA or GUB cohort.

GEAR UP Last-Dollar Tuition Waiver Application Steps

  • Complete GEAR UP College Intent Form (this should have been completed during your 11th grade year).
  • Submit an Admission Application to the ACCS college you plan to attend.
  • Submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) with the federal school code of the ACCS college you plan to attend. Once submitted, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) via email from the Department of Education. Keep this document for the next step.
  • Submit an ACCS Universal Waiver Application using the username and password you created when you completed your college intent form. Do this no later than March 1, 2020 and attach a copy of the first page of your Student Aid Report (SAR).

The universal waiver application can be found at: