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$2.36M Federal Grant to Support Services for Low-income, First-generation Students

By Maryland Today Staff

The University of Maryland Academic Achievement Programs has received a $2,355,070 grant from the U.S. Department of Education to fund its counseling and academic services for low-income and first-generation participants. The grant is nearly $80,000 larger than the last award.

“We are thrilled—this grant boost means we’ll be able to help more students with underrepresented backgrounds but high academic potential achieve high academic performance,” said Jerry L. Lewis, executive director of Academic Achievement Programs (AAP).

An average of 6,807 first-generation or low-come students per year attended UMD from 2016 to 2018, according to UMD records. Studies show that academically strong students from low socioeconomic backgrounds were less likely to graduate from college than students of similar or even lower academic ability from high socioeconomic backgrounds. Among other factors, lack of confidence in seeking assistance with courses, lack of proficient computer skills and computer access, and lack of family knowledge and experience with higher education all contribute to the gap.

“In the current funding environment, extra resources are scarce,” said William A. Cohen, associate provost and dean for undergraduate studies. “That’s why this increase means so much. We’re able to help more students reach their full potential and accomplish their life goals.”

The Department of Education grant will fund summer programs to help bridge academic skill deficiencies, advising and counseling services, comprehensive tutorial support and career advising and mentoring, among other services.

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