BCCC is offering 41 scholarships

One-year award is designed to encourage city's graduating seniors to consider college

May 15, 2007|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,sun reporter

In an effort to encourage more graduating students to consider college, Baltimore City Community College is offering a year's scholarship to one senior at each of the 41 city high schools.

Scholarship winners will receive about $3,400 each to cover tuition, books and other fees. The scholarships are funded by the BCCC Foundation Inc. and they will be awarded as part of the school's 60th anniversary celebration. To qualify, applicants must have a 2.5 grade point average, demonstrate financial need and submit an essay about the value of a college education. Winners will be required to devote at least 30 hours to community service .

"Students need to have the opportunity to extend their learning, so we're grateful for this," Baltimore City schools interim CEO Charlene Cooper Boston said yesterday during a ceremony at BCCC's Harbor Campus. "It will improve the optimism on the part of students to know that they have that money available."

Meanwhile, BCCC is offering 19 more scholarships for dropouts, with some awarded through the school's Alternative Options Program. The program, which is run in conjunction with the city school system, enables dropouts to earn a high school diploma at BCCC and to apply for admission to the school.

Officials from the community college and city school system promoted the Alternative Options Program yesterday as a first-in-the-nation collaboration, a bridge to college for students who have been unsuccessful in a traditional academic setting.

The program, which began in February, has 60 students from ages 16 to 19 enrolled; 12 are slated to graduate in July.

Students learn, in part, through online courses and are encouraged to work at their own pace, said program coordinator Edward C. Ennels.

"Our goal next year as we continue this partnership is to be able to graduate between 120 and 150 students," Ennels said.

Ranelle Trottman said she will be one of the graduates in July and plans to attend BCCC in the fall, making her eligible for one of the community college's scholarships.

Trottman, 17, said that, after dropping out of the Academy for College and Career Exploration this year, she was able to complete her coursework quickly at BCCC and will graduate a year early.

"I'm starting college as a full-time student at BCCC, and I'm going to go to Towson after two years," Trottman said. "I expect to get my master's degree by age 22."

Boston said the school system expects to graduate nearly 4,000 students this spring, adding that the graduation rate has risen slightly over the years to 60.6 percent last year.

BCCC is an open-admissions institution that enrolls nearly 20,000 credit and noncredit students each year.

It is the city's only community college and awards associate's degrees and certificates in other academic disciplines.

"We have to provide options for people," BCCC President Carolane Williams said.

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