Local students of Allegany College of Maryland (ACM) and Frostburg State University (FSU) are receiving the first Allegany County Opportunity Scholarships, established by Allegany Commissioners Michael W. McKay, Creade V. Brodie, Jr., and William R. “Bill” Valentine.
From Allegany County’s news release,
The county’s investment in higher and continuing education is already greatly enhancing economic opportunities for its citizens and thus supporting families and the community at large, according to representatives from the ACM and FSU foundations.
The ACM Foundation created four categories for the Allegany County Opportunity Scholarship –Merit Scholarship, Tuition Subsidy for Credit Students, “Jump Start” Early College Scholarship and Continuing Education and Workforce Development Scholarship. Scholarships have already been awarded in the first three programs, with additional scholarships scheduled for the fourth this fall.
“The Allegany County Opportunity Scholarship reflects a genuine commitment on the part of the Allegany County Commissioners to enhance the quality of life and increase economic opportunity for our citizens and community through expanded access to higher education,” said ACM’s president, Dr. Cynthia Bambara. “In its first year, we are excited to award nearly 300 Allegany County Opportunity Scholarships for the fall 2014 semester to students enrolled in credit courses. We look forward to continuing these awards throughout the academic year and to expanding the effort to include continuing education students.”
FSU awards the Allegany County Opportunity Scholarship to new and continuing students at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels to offset the cost of tuition and fees. As of Aug. 18, FSU had awarded 98 scholarships to 75 undergraduate students, 15 graduate students and eight doctoral students. Nearly $114,600 has been awarded so far. A review of transfer students is underway to ensure that they are aware of this opportunity, and as many as 27 more may be eligible.
The funds for the scholarship are provided from a portion of Allegany County Government’s share –2.25 percent –of the annual gross revenue generated by the video lottery machines at Rocky Gap Casino Resort. The county commissioners designated 70 percent of this revenue for the Allegany County Opportunity Scholarship –45 percent for ACM and 25 percent for FSU.
Fewer than one in five Allegany County residents, 16.3 percent, have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher. The county ranks 22 of Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions.
The county commissioners believe that this scholarship accomplishes many goals: encourages population retention and growth, enhances the quality of the local workforce for current and prospective employers, and supports economic development and the associated prosperity it creates.
The county commissioners determined that the future well-being of Allegany County depends on having an educated and skilled workforce. However, many county residents face financial barriers to pursuing post-secondary education. Funding through the Allegany County Opportunity Scholarship provides additional financial resources to increase educational opportunities, enhance economic development, and support the continued well-being of the community.