August 4, 2008

Class of ’08 Nets More in Scholarships


The county's Class of 2008 was offered $12 million more in scholarships than last year's graduates, according to data released this week by the school system.

Officials attribute the jump to hiring high school registrars, who relieved guidance counselors this year of clerical work so they could help students apply to college.

"It's made a huge difference," said Gayle Cicero, coordinator of guidance for county schools.

The scholarship data was collected in a senior survey in June. Of the 5,179 graduates, 93 percent completed the survey.

Scholarship totals include all money offered to students by colleges or organizations, regardless of whether the students accepted them. The Class of 2008 was offered $47.7 million, compared to $35.6 million the previous year, $42.8 million in 2006 and $37.3 million in 2005.

Ms. Cicero said she wasn't sure why those totals have fluctuated over the past few years. It's more indicative to look at individual schools, she said.

For example, for the past three years Glen Burnie High graduates have been offered about $1 million in scholarships. But this year's class was offered more than $2 million.

Old Mill and Severna Park students also netted more than last year - increases of $3.6 million and $5.4 million, respectively.

One factor in the increase could be a general rise in the amount of scholarship money available to students.

State schools, for example, have increased their financial aid, which includes scholarships, over the past few years because of rising enrollment and a concerted effort by the schools to reduce students' debt, said John Buettner, a spokesman for the University System of Maryland, the group that oversees all state schools. Need- based institutional aid in the schools rose from $13.2 million to $21.6 million between 2000 and 2005.

The county's senior survey also showed the percent of students planning to attend a four-year college went up from 35 percent last year to 45 percent. But that statistic could reflect a change in the survey. Ms. Cicero said students were allowed to check more than one box this year if, for example, they were working full-time while attending college.

The percent of students enlisting in the military has remained around 3 percent for the past five years, while the percent attending a private career school has risen from 6 percent to 9 percent, and the percent declaring they're undecided rose from 6 percent to 13 percent. The percent planning to work full-time after high school rose over that time from 15 percent to 18 percent, and the percent attending a two-year college dropped from 39 percent to 33 percent. {Corrections:} {Status:}


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