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Higher Education in Maryland

June 2008 Press Release



For immediate release: June 6, 2008
Contact: Christopher Falkenhagen
Communications: (410) 260-4511
Workforce Shortage Grant applications due July 1
Funding is awarded through the Maryland Higher Education Commission

ANNAPOLIS, MD (June 6, 2008) Students entering college who want to work and make a difference in various areas of public service may be eligible to apply for financial aid from the Maryland Higher Education Commission.

The agency is currently accepting applications for the Workforce Shortage Student Assistance Grant (WSSAG) Program. This important scholarship program targets those who want to pursue critical workforce shortage areas in Maryland, such as:

• Teaching
• Nursing
• Human Services Fields
• Physical and Occupational Therapists and Assistants
• Child Care Providers;
• and various other public service careers as defined by MHEC.

“Workforce shortage is one of our most pressing challenges in Maryland,” said Secretary James E. Lyons, Sr. “Governor O’Malley and Lt. Governor Brown are committed to enhancing Maryland’s workforce and our state’s competitive advantage, and our agency is proud to coordinate these efforts on behalf of the administration.”

In order to qualify for the WSSAG, students must major in a program that leads to employment in a critical shortage field and agree to work full-time one year for each year they receive the scholarship or to work part-time two years for each year they receive the scholarship. For instance, an applicant who receives a scholarship for four years of study to become a teacher will owe a minimum of four years of service as a teacher in a Maryland elementary or secondary school upon graduation.

Applicants must be Maryland residents enrolled as full- or part-time, degree seeking undergraduate or graduate students at an eligible Maryland postsecondary institution. Detailed eligible majors and employments fields can be found by going to the MHEC website: www.MDgo4it.org. Award amounts range from $1,000 to $4,000 per academic year based on type of institution attended and enrollment status. Awards are subject to the availability of funds. Applicants will be selected for awards based on merit and need-based criteria. Applications and all required documents must be submitted to the Office of Student Financial Assistance by July 1, 2008 to be considered for awards beginning in September 2008.

An Advisory Council on Workforce Shortage has been established to make recommendations to the Commission every two years on the occupations to be included or removed from the grant program. The recommendations will include a list of priority demand occupations that shall take into consideration whether the occupation provides a public good or benefit to the citizens of Maryland.

The Maryland Higher Education Commission is a 12-member coordinating board responsible for establishing statewide policies for Maryland public and independent colleges and universities and private career schools. It awards nearly $110 million in grants and scholarships to approximately 58,000 students each year.




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