It would be uncharacteristic of Carmen Alban not to have some kind of work in addition to her college course load.
But the prestigious scholarship the Hampstead native just won will help her devote more time to earning her English degree at Towson State University.
Instead of working 20 to 40 hours a week outside of her classes as she has in the past, she will be able to work just eight hours a week at her job and to put more time into The Write Answer, a tutoring and paper-editing business she started this year from her home in Cockeysville.
"When I got this scholarship, it made enough of a difference that I'm not going to have to get another job," said Ms. Alban. "It's really been difficult, because I spend a lot of time on my school work."
Ms. Alban, 21, the former Carmen Walsh, is a Weinberg Regents Scholar, an honor bestowed on one Maryland student every two years by the University of Maryland Board of Regents. The program was designed to recognize the contributions of transfer students from community colleges.
To apply for the scholarship, a student must have graduated from a Maryland community college with a straight-A average and must have been accepted into a four-year school.
Ms. Alban met both requirements, and Carroll Community College nominated her. She was chosen over applicants from the other 17 community colleges in Maryland.
The scholarship will cover her tuition and mandatory fees, and will provide money for living expenses comparable to the cost of on-campus housing, plus $500 per semester for other educational expenses.
To keep the two-year scholarship, Ms. Alban must maintain a 3.5 grade-point average and take at least 12 credit hours a semester.
Ms. Alban will still work eight hours a week as a typist, but that's better than the typical 20- to 40-hour workweeks she has put in since she started taking classes at Carroll Community College in 1991, she said.
She might end up putting 20 hours a week or more into The Write Answer, but that doesn't bother her, she said.
"That's OK, because I'm getting something back out of it," she said. She plans to expand The Write Answer after she graduates and goes on to earn a master's degree in reading. Her goal is to teach English at a community college part time and to keep operating The Write Answer.
At The Write Answer, Ms. Alban edits, corrects and types students' papers for $4 a page. She is the daughter of Francis and Clara Walsh of Hampstead, and is married to Michael Alban, formerly of Westminster.