At CCBC, it has become a truism that 21st century students need a 21st century education and skills to prepare for 21st century jobs; and, they need 21st century models to achieve these goals.  We recently held a press conference at CCBC to celebrate one of the best of those 21st century models: the Baltimore County College Promise Scholarship program.  This achievement is a testament to the partnership that can result when well-meaning people from both government and education come together to work for the good of the constituents they serve.

Thanks to our Baltimore County Council and County Executive,  CCBC can now serve the broad swath of middle-income County residents, who make “too much money” to qualify for federal Pell Grants and yet “too little money” to send their children to our community college full-time.

The Promise scholarship enables students who meet academic and financial requirements to attend CCBC full-time on a full-ride scholarship covering all tuition and fees.CCBC President Sandra Kurtinitis, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski, student Christa Bryant, BCPS Superintendent Darryl Williams

At a college such as ours, where 89% of the student body attends part-time, full-time status supported by a full scholarship is gold.  A Promise scholarship opens up the possibility of completing an associate degree or certificate within two years, rather than juggling work, home and a part-time course schedule, which could take six or seven years to complete.  Christa Bryant, Promise scholarship recipient, made this point quite eloquently during our recent press event.  She began her coursework at CCBC in 2017, working full-time while taking one or two courses as money afforded. Now, with a Promise scholarship, she can attend college full-time and will graduate next spring with a degree in Criminal Justice – much sooner than a part-time schedule would allow and with money saved to start the next leg of her journey at Towson University.

In addition to bringing awareness, the press conference celebrated both the wisdom and the generosity of a county government that invests in the postsecondary education of individual citizens.  We all recognize that when 95% of CCBC graduates remain to live and work in their communities, the return on investment for the whole county is sizable.  Our County Executive, John Olszewski, a young and progressive leader, spoke eloquently of his personal commitment to supporting the College Promise Scholarship Program and his recognition of the important connection between CCBC and the 21st century workforce readiness of County citizens.  He has committed to working with his educational partners in the County to create the best educational ecosystem in Maryland, from kindergarten through graduate school.

At the start of each fall semester, I like to find a phrase or mantra to fit the college’s agenda for the coming year.  This year, with the launch of a new strategic plan, I latched onto the phrase: “Vision, without implementation, is hallucination.”  I am certainly proud that our County and our college came together around a “vision” of College Promise; but, I am even prouder of the team of CCBC professionals who took on the job of “implementation.” Last year we awarded 111 College Promise scholarships; as of last week, CCBC has awarded as many as 408 College Promise Scholarships and we are still counting!  The direct benefit to these fortunate 408 and to their families is not just a promise “made;” it is a Promise “kept!” In short, having a “vision” is a good start; carrying it to implementation is even better!