MCAC hopes to encourage more students to go to college
BALTIMORE — The Maryland State Department of Education, the Maryland Higher Education Commission and College Goal Maryland, in partnership with the American Council on Education, are sponsoring the Maryland College Application Campaign through Oct. 26.
The campaign is designed to encourage a higher percentage of the state’s working population to gain the benefit of a postsecondary education.
The MCAC’s goal is to increase the number of students who are applying to college early in their senior year, particularly students from families that have never attended college or may be from low socioeconomic circumstances.
The campaign also focuses on unaccompanied and foster care youth, students in the juvenile education system, special education students and others underrepresented in higher education. Home school students are included in the campaign for the first time this year.
Maryland has a comprehensive and supportive process that culminates in students’ acceptance into a postsecondary institution. Dozens of high schools in 20 Maryland school systems are taking part in the MCAC.
“Education beyond high school is critical for both our high school graduates and the needs of Maryland employers,” said Dr. Karen Salmon, state superintendent of schools. “For many of today’s careers, an associate’s degree is an entry-level credential. More of our students must take advantage of this golden opportunity.”
During the MCAC, students receive special assistance when applying to any of Maryland’s community colleges, independent colleges, private career schools, public universities, and out-of-state colleges and universities.
The initiative includes working with staff from the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (Gear-Up) and school counselors to prepare students for the rigorous college application process. It also establishes a formal partnership with College Goal Maryland and the Maryland Higher Education Commission to assist with completing financial aid applications.
Starting in October and continuing through March, College Goal Maryland and Maryland Higher Education Commission staff and volunteers will provide guided assistance in completing Free Application for Federal Student Aid applications.
In addition, professionals working with College Goal Mar yland and the Mar yland Higher Education Commission will assist parents/guardians and students in understanding financial aid resources, the financial aid application process and how to access information regarding statewide student services and admission requirements.
The MCAC is part of American College Application Week, which takes place nationwide. In 2014, Maryland piloted the effort with 21 high schools representing seven local school systems. Last year, participation had grown to 129 schools in 19 systems.
This year’s participation marks a new record, with approximately 160 schools participating from the following school systems: Anne Arundel, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Caroline, Cecil, Charles, Dorchester, Garrett, Howard, Kent, Montgomery, Prince George’s, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, St. Mary’s, Talbot, Washington and Wicomico.
The SEED School of Maryland and the 13 Juvenile Education Ser vices facilities also are included in the total number of participating sites. The MCAC process culminates with participating high schools holding College Decision Day events in May.
The MCAC has launched Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages to allow schools to upload pictures, comments and videos promoting the MCAC events and activities.
For additional information about the MCAC, contact Michelle Daley, comprehensive planning specialist/MCAC state coordinator at 410-767-0359 or michelle. email@example.com.