After the success of its Educator's Legacy Scholarship program for students of parents who work in kindergarten through 12th-grade education, McDaniel College is expanding the opportunities to 11 select community colleges in Maryland and Pennsylvania, including Carroll Community College.
With the cost of higher education continually on the rise, the scholarship opportunity certainly makes the liberal arts college on the hill more accessible to certain students across the state, and in Carroll County, where the public school system and the community college are both among the top 10 employers.
The $25,000 annual scholarship is renewable each year so long as students maintain a 2.5 GPA or better. The children of any employee of a K-12 school or one of the inaugural community college partners qualifies, as long as the parent or guardian has at least four years of current and consecutive full-time employment.
Among private colleges, McDaniel is already considered a great bargain. It routinely is recognized in U.S. News & World Report's annual "Best Colleges" lists. This past year, it ranked in the top 100 of Money Magazine's "Best Colleges" list and was also among the magazine's "50 Most Affordable Private Colleges." And Washington Monthly ranked McDaniel the top liberal arts college in Maryland and named the school to its "Best Bang for the Buck" list.
Even so, the estimated annual tuition of $40,580 for the 2016-17 school year, plus another $10,800 in room and board, is far from small potatoes. A $25,000 scholarship each year that covers nearly half of those costs is a huge relief for students and their parents.
This fall, 56 students with parents working in K-12 education nationwide took advantage of McDaniel's scholarship offer in the first year. That success is what led to McDaniel officials reaching out to administrators at Carroll, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Cecil, Frederick, Garrett, Hagerstown, Howard and Prince George's county's community colleges in Maryland, as well as Chesapeake College and the Harrisburg Area Community College system in Central Pennsylvania to expand the benefit.
What we really like is that it's not just children of traditional educators like teachers and administrators that are eligible. The child of any employee of a K-12 school or the community colleges — from counselors to custodians — can qualify. Even better, there is no limit to the number of scholarships McDaniel will give each semester, so there's no fretting over whether you'll get the money if you meet the basic qualifications.
Educators' salaries at both the K-12 and community college level have been a hot topic in our community and others, for many years, and we don't expect that to change any time soon. But in lieu of large increases, this is certainly a nice benefit for school and community college employees and their children, especially those in middle-class families who don't always qualify for financial help.