WASHINGTON, DC - Delaware Senator Tom Carper and Delaware Congressman Mike Castle today announced that the University of Delaware will receive $288,052 to give hundreds of underserved Delaware students a boost towards higher education. The federal funds will benefit the University's GEAR UP Program, which begins helping children in grade school to prepare academically for college. "It is important that every child in Delaware has a fair start. The University of Delaware is making great strides in helping our communities and our students realize their potential," Carper said. "We must continue to work to level the playing field and give our kids the tools to succeed." As Governor, Carper helped recruit thousands of mentors as part of the Creative Mentoring program and was actively involved in recruiting individuals and corporations to mentor Delaware's at-risk children. "All students who have the will to pursue higher education should be given the opportunity to do so. By intervening early, offering assistance in troublesome subjects and focusing on core life skills of reading, writing, communication and problem solving, this project is truly empowering underserved students," said Castle who chairs the Education Reform Subcommittee overseeing K-12 education. The GEAR UP Program aligns, mobilizes and focuses community, educational and human resources to increase access for underserved students to opportunities for postsecondary enrollment. The program focuses on in-school and after-school programs through academic training and mentoring. Some examples include preparing 6th and 7th graders for 8th grade Algebra early and practicing "high yield" activities in decision-making and problem solving. The program will focus on a group of 600 students over a five-year period, in conjunction with teachers, counselors and administrators to develop more effective school practices to help students and their parents prepare for their college career. For more information, please contact: Carol Vukelich, 302-831-3000.