Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) Cost-Share: Programmatic Benefit or Limitation?

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The purpose of this study was to determine whether the matching requirement of the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) grant is an arbitrary administrative stipulation of the grant or whether it adds meaningful value to the program. If the GEAR UP grant’s matching requirement is a detriment to the program, this study sought to determine to what extent. Three frameworks shaped this study. First, the researcher used a similar study conducted by Jeremy Hall in 2010 as a frame of reference. Hall (2010) studied economic development grants in three southern states to discover whether the matching requirement creates a disproportionate burden on nonmetropolitan counties. This study also relied upon the theoretical framework of bureaucratic encounters established by Kahn et al. in 1976. Finally, the researcher viewed this study through Barry Bozeman’s 1993 etiology of red tape. This study used a mixed methods explanatory sequential design methodology utilizing a quantitative digital survey and qualitative interviews to study GEAR UP project directors of partnership grants. This study concluded that the grant’s matching requirement is not a prima facie programmatic limitation. However, poor intraorganizational relationships and existing internal red tape exacerbate the administrative burden of match. Finally, educational organizations interested in pursuing a GEAR UP grant must scrutinize their motivations. This study found those educational organizations whose motivations to apply for the grant align with the grant’s mission are likely to be more successful than those organizations that simply seek another revenue stream or want to add another accolade to their educational achievements.
A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Doctor of Public Administration
Public Administration, Educational Administration