GEAR UP is a federally funded program aimed at increasing the college readiness of low-income students. NAU has served as the administrator of Arizona GEAR UP grant projects wince 2000, having served more than 12,000 Arizona students in grades 7-12 at 67 schools across the state.

In FY 2016, the U.S. Department of Education awarded NAU a $4.6 million grant under the GEAR UP program to provide teacher training resources for several school districts across Arizona.