Anne Arundel County's most recent public high school graduates have been offered nearly $65 million in scholarships, a county record and a 15 percent increase over last year's mark, county officials said.
It is the third consecutive year that Anne Arundel has had a double-digit percentage increase in scholarship amounts offered, and it represents a windfall in a school system where 80 percent of the 5,073 graduating seniors say they plan to attend college.
"These offers are a tribute not only to the dedicated students who received them, but to their parents and teachers and counselors who spend so many hours working with our students to maximize their chances for scholarships," said county schools Superintendent Kevin M. Maxwell.
It marks a sharp contrast from 2007, when the county's graduates were offered $35.6 million — $7 million less than in the previous year.
In the three years since, however, at least three county high schools have posted scholarship award offers of $6 million or greater (compared to just one school in 2007), and this year no school received less than $1.7 million.
Lucia Martin, the county's school counseling coordinator, said school counselors had been more focused in helping students target available funds for college, adding that the school system uses a program that allows counselors to monitor students' college application processes.
"There are many kinds of scholarship money out there," Martin said. "Counselors think about which students match up for certain scholarships and what they are looking for, and some have chased down students to make sure they filled out applications and that those applications were submitted."
Leading the way in scholarship offers was South River High School, which for the second consecutive year posted the highest amount: $9.34 million.
Severna Park High School came in second with $7.26 million and was among five county high schools that experienced increases of at least $1 million over the previous year.
Among the schools that experienced the biggest gains since 2007 was Chesapeake High School. This year, it collected $6.4 million in scholarship offers, nearly six times the amount three years ago.
Martin said that 45 percent of the recent graduating class plans to attend four-year colleges, which is up from 35 percent in 2007. She added that 16 percent said they intended to enter the work force full time, while 4 percent said they would enlist in the military.
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