GEAR UP Rising Phoenix expands to serve more students in Wisconsin

Program will provide 100 more high school students a head start on college; Bayfield School District joins the program

Green Bay, Wis.— After two years of program success, GEAR UP Rising Phoenix will expand to include additional schools that are part of the Wisconsin Educational Opportunity Program’s (WEOP) GEAR UP program. The first group of students that started in Fall 2021 are approaching high school graduation, many with a significant head start on their college careers as a result of the partnership between WEOP and UW-Green Bay. The application is now open for the new cohort which will start in Fall 2023.

In Fall 2023, students from Bayfield school district will join the 16 already-participating high schools in Ashland, Shawano, Wausau, Green Bay, Sheboygan and Milwaukee. Up to 100 additional students will join the current 114 students that are enrolled in the program. Student performance in these participating districts has shown that students are succeeding in the groundbreaking program that pairs opportunity and access with direct student coaching. Students are supported in the program from application through graduation by UW-Green Bay Student Success Coaches and WEOP Education Specialists.

“Nearly 75% of the Fall 2021 cohort will earn their Associate of Arts and Sciences degree along with their high school diploma,” said UW-Green Bay’s Executive Director of Early College Programs Aubrey Schramm. “This success shows that when students have access to early college programs with intensive support from their school, success coach, education specialist and community, they are successful. We are so excited to watch 28 high school graduates from these communities cross the stage as college graduates at UW-Green Bay’s commencement in May 2023. We look forward to celebrating the accomplishments of our first cohort of GEAR UP Rising Phoenix students.”

The Rising Phoenix program started in Fall 2020, and the program’s growth in every successive year has been significant. Rising Phoenix was created with the goal of reducing college debt, closing the achievement gap and providing advanced learning opportunities for students in Wisconsin. Students enrolling in the program have the opportunity to earn an Associate of Arts and Sciences (AAS) degree by the time they graduate from high school. Students who complete an AAS degree will have the first two years of a bachelor’s degree completed. The accomplishment applies if students transfer to a different college or university, if they enter the workforce with a college credential or if they decide to continue at UW-Green Bay.

The GEAR UP Rising Phoenix Early College High School Program is made possible through a partnership with Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s GEAR UP program. GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) is a federal grant program focused on low-income and first-generation students obtaining a high school diploma and preparing them for success in postsecondary education. Students meeting GEAR UP eligibility criteria who attend a GEAR UP Rising Phoenix participating school are eligible to apply.

Rising Phoenix courses are selected to meet Wisconsin high school graduation requirements and the UW-Green Bay Associate of Arts and Sciences (AAS) degree. Courses are offered in multiple modalities including online and in-person, providing students flexible options to take courses and participate in extra-curricular activities at the high school and on the university campus, depending on their proximity to a UW-Green Bay campus location (Green Bay, Marinette, Manitowoc or Sheboygan). Students are able to continue taking other dual credit options available in their high school, which allow students to experience college coursework in the familiar environment of their high school, learning alongside other college students at a college campus.

To learn more about the program, visit the Rising Phoenix website at or contact Aubrey Schramm, Executive Director, Early College Programs at

About UW-Green Bay
Established in 1965, UW-Green Bay is a public institution serving more than 9,600 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students and 95,000 continuing education learners each year. We educate students from pre- college through retirement and offer 200+ degrees, programs and certificates. UW-Green Bay graduates are resilient, inclusive, sustaining and engaged members of their communities, ready to rise to fearlessly face challenges, solve problems and embrace diverse ideas and people. With four campus locations, the University welcomes students from every corner of the world. In 2021, UW-Green Bay was the fastest-growing UW school in Wisconsin. For more information, visit


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