2007 Illinois Steps AHEAD (GEAR UP) Fact Sheet

Illinois Steps AHEAD (Attaining Higher Education through Academic Development)
GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs)

Bureau of Youth Services and Delinquency Prevention
Division of Community Health & Prevention
Illinois Department of Human Services

Program Description


Illinois Steps AHEAD (ISA) serves low income students beginning no later than the seventh grade and follows them through high school.


To increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in post-secondary education.


Illinois Steps AHEAD services include tutoring, college visits, ACT/SAT preparation, career exploration, job shadowing, and parent involvement activities. IDHS will put a total of $11.4 million in a trust fund (interest bearing account) during the next six years ($1.9 million each year) for scholarships to be awarded to eligible youth successfully completing the ISA program.

Delivery Method

The program is being implemented in connection with the Department's Teen REACH program and the Illinois State Board of Education's 21st Century Learning Center.

Program Data

Program Expenditure (Numbers in 000's) $309.1 $1,003.8
Number of Grantees 20 22
Number Served 937 1,920

Program Accomplishments

  • Increased enrollment from (937) participants in FY 06 to approximately (1,900) participants in FY 07.
  • Provided E-cornerstone training(s) to both community providers and DHS Community Support Service Consultants (CSSC).
  • Promotional and incentive materials for recruitment and retention (i.e. student planners, book bags, flyers, etc.) were developed.
  • Held the first ISA Student Leadership Conference.
  • Provided on site technical assistance and monitoring to (21) programs regarding E-Cornerstone.
  • Collected annual performance data from ISA providers.
  • ISA scholarship guidelines and policy brochure were refined.
  • ISA best practice models were developed and distributed.