A stopgap solution

By AACC 21st Century Center Staff

Tuition-free community college will be available for some Marylanders ahead of the state’s new Promise Scholarship program.

The Maryland Community College Promise Scholarship program officially starts with the 2019–2020 academic year. But all is not lost for the students enrolling at Carroll Community College for the 2018–2019 academic year. The new Carroll Promise Scholarship will help bridge the gap.

The college’s foundation, thanks to generous donors, is providing one year of funding to eligible Carroll County residents who are graduating from high school this spring. Students must enroll and register by July 2018 to qualify.

“We are proud of the fact that our elected officials and Governor passed this new legislation. The opportunity this presents for high school graduates will be life changing for so many. Student success is our top priority, and we don’t want prospective students to wait to enroll until the State scholarships become available,” Carroll President James D. Ball said in a release. “One of the advantages of starting higher education right after completing high school is that students can continue to build upon the momentum from high school and will get a degree sooner rather than later. We are offering this new scholarship program to ensure a smooth pathway from high school to college without delay because we know that our students will be more successful if they begin right away.”

Carroll’s Promise Scholarship closely mirrors the Maryland Community College Promise program in terms of eligibility requirements: students must enroll full-time and have had a high school GPA of 2.3 or higher, among other requirements. However, the state’s program also requires that students receiving the scholarship work in Maryland one year for each year of scholarship awarded, or the scholarships convert to loans and must be repaid. Carroll’s program does not have that requirement.

Students in Baltimore also don’t have to wait until 2019 to get a tuition-free education. The Baltimore County College Promise program begins in fall 2018 and gives college-ready, recent high school graduates an opportunity to complete their certificates and degrees at Community College of Baltimore County debt-free.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan signed the Near Completers and Maryland Community College Promise Scholarships bill into law in May. It allocates $15 million per year in need-based tuition aid for eligible community college students.

AACC 21st Century Center Staff

is a contributor to the 21st-Century Center.