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County Executive Announces Baltimore County College Promise Program

In a transformative move that would help make college a reality for hundreds of recent high school graduates, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced this morning at CCBC Essex that his FY 19 budget proposal will include a request for a Baltimore County College Promise program. If approved by the County Council, this new need-based scholarship program, will begin with the Fall 2018 semester, and will cover tuition and mandatory fees at CCBC to enable eligible Baltimore County residents to complete an associate’s degree or workplace and certification program, up to a maximum of three years.

“This is a real game-changer for students from low or moderate income families for whom the benefits of a college education might otherwise be out of reach,” Kamenetz said. “It opens up a lifetime of career income opportunities.”

The Baltimore County College Promise program guarantees that CCBC college tuition will be free for eligible recent high school graduates who live in Baltimore County. It applies to students pursuing an associate’s degree or a licensure or certification program. The scholarship goes beyond federal, state and private scholarships to provide full tuition for qualified students to pursue and complete their education at CCBC. 

“The Baltimore County College Promise program is truly something to celebrate,” exclaimed CCBC President Sandra Kurtinitis. “It will increase access to higher education for hard-working Baltimore County students who otherwise might struggle to meet the financial obligation of going to college.  Students who receive a Promise Scholarship must be college ready, doubling the value of this investment. We are fortunate to have a County Executive who believes in the importance of public higher education and not only ‘talks the talk,’ but ‘walks the walk.’ The Baltimore County College Promise program is an investment in the future of Baltimore County students and our local economy.”

“This is a tremendous opportunity for our recent graduates, especially those with financial constraints, to take full advantage of the tremendous education and career-advancing opportunities at CCBC,” said BCPS Interim Superintendent Verletta White.

College Promise has Widespread Support Among County Council Members

“I know firsthand how much the people in my district value CCBC Catonsville,” said 1st District Councilman Tom Quirk. “To give individuals who might not be able to afford to go to college the opportunity to do so is vital to our future as a county, and frankly, as a nation. This is about family stability and economic growth.”

“There is nothing more important to a person than a good job, and access to higher education is vital in opening up opportunities for individuals,” said 2nd District Councilwoman Vicki Almond. “This is a very good day for Baltimore County.”

“Jobs. Jobs. Jobs.  This announcement is about jobs pure and simple,” said Council Chair Julian E. Jones, Jr.  “Helping people get the education they need to succeed is exactly what government ought to do.”

“For people in my district, this announcement will be a true lifesaver,” said 6th District Councilwoman Cathy Bevins. “Free college tuition will open up doors that otherwise would be closed. I am so proud to be a part of this effort.”

“Both the Essex and Dundalk campuses of CCBC are important resources in my community,” said 7th District Councilman Todd Crandell.  “Making college more affordable to those who struggle to make ends meet is a very good thing.”

Qualifications and Requirements

To be eligible, students must live in Baltimore County and have an adjusted household income of $69,000 or less, which is the median income for Baltimore County residents. Students must have graduated from a public, parochial or home school within the past two years with a GPA of 2.5 or better and complete a federal financial aid (FAFSA form). Baltimore County College Promise students must enroll full-time and be college-ready. They must maintain full-time enrollment and a GPA of at least 2.5. The scholarship applies only to the student’s first credential or degree. More details on eligibility and program parameters can be found on the attached fact sheet

How to Apply

Students who wish to learn more about the Baltimore County College Promise may visit the College Promise page on CCBC’s website

Program Cost

The current cost for full-time CCBC students taking 12 credits per semester is $1,865 in tuition and fees. The Baltimore County College Promise scholarship is calculated as a “last dollar in” award, meaning that it is applied after all other financial awards like Pell grants and state aid (not including loans) have been utilized. For example, students with $1,000 in financial aid would receive $865 from this new program to fill the gap.

CCBC estimates that approximately 1,100 students, who graduated in the past two years, are eligible for the first year of the program, and the projected cost for the first year is $980,000. Costs for years two and three are estimated at $1.8 million and $2.3 million respectively.  Baltimore County government will provide the funding for the Baltimore County College Promise scholarship from its operating budget that will be presented to the County Council for approval this April.

Current CCBC Student Enrollment

Currently, 67 percent of CCBC’s student population are Baltimore County residents and 95 percent of its graduates remain in the Baltimore region, benefitting local economies and communities. Some 46 percent of CCBC students receive financial aid, and 53 percent work at least 20 hours per week.

The Value of Education for Graduates and Society

Studies show that the average CCBC associate’s degree graduate working to their full potential will see an increase in earnings of $10,400 each year. Over a lifetime, this translates to more than $300,000 in additional earnings.

In addition to higher earnings, the scholarship improves college graduation rates, which promotes a stronger economy by enhancing the skills and job-readiness of the County’s workforce. A better educated labor pool increases the attractiveness of the region to employers, fueling economic growth, prosperity and overall quality of life.

The County Executive will present his budget to the County Council on April 12.  The County Council will vote on the budget on May 24.

by Michael Schneider, Baltimore County Recreation and Parks

When Evelyn Schroedl was growing up, her favorite tennis pro was Helen Wills Moody. Don’t know the name? Helen Wills Moody was the number one rated women’s tennis player in the world in 1927. Her fan Evelyn was 10 years old.  

We caught up with Evelyn Schroedl shortly after one of her many 100th birthday celebrations.  A vivacious and animated tennis advocate and player, Evelyn doesn’t just enjoy watching the sport and attending the U.S. Open, she plays in a weekly game at the Baltimore County Recreation and Parks Northeast Regional Recreation Center (NERRC) in Parkville. 

Long a spectator, Evelyn is a relative newcomer to playing the sport. When she retired from her career as a Goucher College registrar in 1981, she started tennis lessons at what is now the Community College of Baltimore County Essex campus. “I’ve had such marvelous experiences playing tennis,” she shared. “Tennis has been a wonderful social opportunity to meet and play with lots of people over the years. I even played a Goucher College professor,” she reveals with a smile.

Tennis at NERRC is now a weekly event for Evelyn. Watching the competition take place with friends Nancy Tilotta, Clara Hall and Carol Koh, Evelyn’s serve and rallies were on, she displayed a fine forehand and a smooth return. With a touch of macular degeneration, Evelyn confided that it isn’t always as easy to see the ball. She encourages all to “give it a shot…you don’t have to be a star!”

On keeping fit to be 100

“I was 78 when my husband died and I thought life was over. But my first time ever in a senior center, Seven Oaks Senior Center, saved my life.” Being with others and active in programs gave her focus and meaning during that life transition and beyond.

While tennis is important in the life of this 100 year old, Evelyn also plays bridge three nights a week, paints one night a week, shoots pool, reads, watches television and is active in charities. Watch Evelyn rappel down a 27-story building to help raise funds for kidney research. Of course, this was much earlier in her life – at age 96. 

“I’ve never thought of taking good care of myself, it just happened” said Evelyn. A resident of Oak Crest Village, she recalls taking a weight training course with ten men. “It was a great time,” she states with a huge smile on her face. “The gym, on the other hand, is boring.” 

What’s Evelyn Schroedl’s secret to living and thriving at 100?  “Because I was born in 1917,” she replied with a contagious giggle.  

The impact of an innovative workforce initiative led by Baltimore County is drawing attention across the country. New data from a five year program demonstrates that low-skilled job seekers can improve their employment potential and earnings through dynamic programs that go beyond the normal technical training. Accelerating Connections to Employment (ACE) incorporated employability training, financial literacy and computer literacy with occupational certification training to improve the marketability of job seekers.

ACE program participants included individuals with limited English proficiency and job seekers with low reading, writing and math skills.

“The ACE jobs innovation program has changed lives for job seekers who need a little extra support as they prepare for a new career. Baltimore County is proud to have lead the national team that clearly delivered results in getting people back to work in family-supporting jobs,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.

Baltimore County led the multi-state ACE collaboration, funded through a $11.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor Workforce Innovation Fund.

In Baltimore County, the Department of Economic and Workforce Development delivered the local program in partnership with the Community College of Baltimore County.

“The ACE program not only gave us job skills and prepared us for the job of utility installer, but also gave us life skills to better our future. As a class we bounced back stronger, wiser and, personally, more powerful,” said Kevin Boyd, a Baltimore County ACE graduate who is currently working for American Airlines.

ACE delivered evidence-based results

An independent evaluation firm concluded that after graduating from the program, ACE participants worked more hours in a week, earned higher wages, and were more likely to achieve occupational credentials than those not participating in the program.

Below are key findings from the program evaluation:

  • On average, ACE participants in Baltimore County earned more than the control group after the end of the training program, and these differences appear to increase over time.
  • ACE participants were less likely to receive public assistance than non-ACE participants. 
  • ACE participants were more likely to hold occupational credentials than non-ACE participants.
  • Two years after the training, ACE participants were more likely to work 35 hours a week or more than the non-ACE participants.
  • ACE program participants were on average more likely to receive a promotion or raise than non-ACE participants. For example, eight quarters after the program end date, ACE participants made an average of $5,262.80 more than non-ACE participants.

“It is remarkable to see the results, with three quarters of our ACE graduates successfully employed. Putting people who lack skills back on track, getting them hired and keeping them employed is a challenge. With the gold-standard of evaluation, random control trial, running in the background, it was doubly difficult,” said Will Anderson, Director, Baltimore County Department of Economic & Workforce Development.  

Results for the workforce field

Results from ACE program also provided insights for the workforce field.

  • Evaluation results demonstrate that the ACE model can be replicated in a variety of geographic areas and with a range of career training options.
  • Random control program evaluations are not conducted on a regular basis and many do not show positive results at the same level as ACE.
  • ACE made a difference in the lives of citizens and employers, enabling participants to complete training, achieve credentials, and become employed at a higher rate and at a greater wage than similar people who didn’t take part in ACE.

ACE served 1,258 low-skilled individuals in nine sites across four states: Maryland, Connecticut, Georgia and Texas. The individuals who received ACE services were randomly selected from a group of potential participants, ensuring that results were due to the impact of ACE services.

The Random Control Trial (RCT) evaluation was conducted by ICF, an independent, international research, evaluation, and technical assistance firm.

Baltimore County’s Department of Economic and Workforce Development administered the five-year initiative in five Maryland jurisdictions [Anne Arundel, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Upper Shore] and cities in three other states.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation, headquartered in Baltimore, provided the genesis for the ACE grant, encouraging workforce areas to combine efforts with local community colleges, providing technical assistance, and convening support for the program.

“Baltimore County’s leadership helped demonstrate how ACE can be an effective, evidence-based workforce development model for the entire country,” added Baltimore County Executive Kamenetz.   

Revised September 11, 2017