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MOU Signed to Establish Allegany County Opportunity Scholarship at FSU
01/17/2014

MOU Signed to Establish Allegany County Opportunity Scholarship at FSU
A memorandum of understanding establishing the Allegany County Opportunity Scholarship at Frostburg State University was signed during the Jan. 16 Allegany County Commissioners meeting. Seated from left are Commissioner William R. Valentine, FSU President Jonathan Gibralter and Commissioners Michael W. McKay and Creade V. Brodie, Jr. Standing from left are FSU Interim Provost William Childs, FSU Foundation Director of Finance and Administration Alicia White, FSU Vice President of Student and Educational Services Tom Bowling and Allegany County Administrator David Eberly.

On Jan. 16, Allegany County Commissioners Michael W. McKay, Creade V. Brodie, Jr., and William R. Valentine and Frostburg State University President Jonathan Gibralter signed a memorandum of understanding establishing the Allegany County Opportunity Scholarship at FSU, benefiting students from Allegany County and funded by revenues to the county from the Rocky Gap Casino Resort.

The commissioners have designated 25 percent of the revenue the county receives to benefit Allegany County students attending FSU. The funds, paid quarterly, will establish a pass-through scholarship through the FSU Foundation, Inc. No less than 90 percent of those funds will be distributed to local students each year, with the remainder, if any, to be placed in an FSUF Allegany County Opportunity Scholarship Endowment Fund.

The first scholarships will be awarded during 2014. Full-time undergraduate and graduate students or those pursuing a professional certification program will be eligible. Recipients, who must have been Allegany County residents for at least three years, are expected to have a 3.0 grade point average to receive the scholarship and must demonstrate academic progress to remain eligible.

A similar scholarship has been established at Allegany College of Maryland.

“I cannot emphasize enough how forward-thinking and innovative this plan is,” Gibralter said. “The Allegany County Commissioners deserve the thanks of those many, many Allegany County residents who can now anticipate being able to follow a path of higher education that had previously been out of reach. The possibilities for those students and this county will increase exponentially.”

At the commissioners’ public business meeting, Gibralter read a letter of appreciation from the chairman of the University System of Maryland Board of Regents, James L. Shea, and USM Chancellor William E. Kirwan, which said in part, “By making education more affordable, the Allegany County Opportunity Scholarship will enable county residents to pursue degrees, enhance skill levels and increase prosperity. At the same time, the increase in well-educated, skilled workers will strengthen economic development and promote the well-being of Allegany County overall.”

Fewer than one in five Allegany County residents, 16.3 percent, has earned a bachelor’s degree or higher. The county ranks 22 of 24 of Maryland’s 23 counties and Baltimore City.  

“The commissioners want and need to educate our youth at the collegiate level right here in Allegany County. The Allegany County Opportunity Scholarship is a positive step to help accomplish many goals,” Commissioner Valentine said. “This encourages population retention and growth, enhances the quality of the local workforce for current and prospective employers and supports economic development and the associated prosperity it creates.”

Of FSU’s 5,474 total students (fall 2013), 738 undergraduate students and 183 graduate students are Allegany County residents.

Situated in the mountains of Allegany County, Frostburg State University is one of the 12 institutions of the University System of Maryland. FSU is a comprehensive, residential regional university and serves as an educational and cultural center for Western Maryland. For more information, visit www.frostburg.edu or facebook.com/frostburgstateuniversity. Follow FSU on Twitter @frostburgstate.

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For further information on this release, contact:

Office of News and Media Services
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD  21532-2303

Telephone: 301-687-3171
Fax: 301-687-7589
E-mail: news@frostburg.edu