2003 Adopted Resolutions
71st Annual Meeting
Denver

return to table of contents

SUPPORT FOR AND EXPANSION OF GEAR UP AND OTHER COMMUNITY BASED COLLEGE ACCESS PROGRAMS

WHEREAS, most low-income students and families are unaware of the courses required to apply to and attend college, the costs of postsecondary education and the availability of financial aid to attend college; and

WHEREAS, minority and low-income families that have not attended college receive sticker shock when their high school senior child begins to apply to college; and

WHEREAS, research has shown that low-income and minority students who take certain academic courses, such as algebra and geometry, by the end of ninth grade, are more likely to complete high school and go onto college; and

WHEREAS, this nation's low-income and minority population continues to grow rapidly, and most racial and ethnic minority groups are far from being proportionally represented on most college campuses; and

WHEREAS, the United States has a knowledge-based economy and the baccalaureate degree has become the equivalent of a high school diploma in the 1950's and 60's; and

WHEREAS, the economic vitality of America's cities is based on their ability to attract business, offer good paying jobs and provide an attractive workforce for business which cannot be accomplished without a quality education system that serves all of its students and citizens; and

WHEREAS, reducing and potentially ending unequal access to higher education is important for the future health, prosperity and economic viability of our cities and our nation; and

WHEREAS, Alan Greenspan has stated that it is important "to find ways to prepare more racially and culturally diverse pool of young people who will be flowing into jobs and starting businesses in the 21st century;" and

WHEREAS, 77 percent of Americans polled support an increase in education spending to assist students in becoming better prepared and completing college; and

WHEREAS, after two years of the GEAR UP Program (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs), a U.S. Department of Education discretionary grant program, the number of participating students who had decided to go to college went from 12 percent to 84 percent which means college got on their radar screen; and

WHEREAS, providing information beginning as early as seventh grade to students and their families about what course work in middle and high school needs to be taken in order to be accepted to college, the costs of attending these institutions, and the financial aid available to assist in paying for college is critical to expanding opportunities for low-income and minority students as well as securing a well trained and college educated workforce for America's cities,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors encourages mayors across the country to create and support community-based college access programs that provide new information and opportunities for low-income and minority students and their families; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The United States Conference of Mayors calls on The United States Congress to continue support of and expand funding for GEAR UP and similar programs such as TRIO(Student Support Services, Upward Bound, Talent Search, and Educational Opportunity Centers) which provide important information about required course work and student financial aid for college, facilitate access to college, and support services during college for low-income and minority students.