By Ryan Velez
As college expenses grow and more and more jobs require a degree for even the slightest bit of consideration, many students are struggling to decide whether or not they should risk taking on massive debt and gamble on getting a job or pursue an avenue outside of a traditional college education. While many students are stuck with this choice, others may have a potential alternative. WJLA reports that Prince George's County, Maryland, is implementing an initiative that will allow students to get a degree without a massive cost.
This is a new scholarship program called 3D Scholars. Dr. Mara Doss, who represents the program at Prince George's Community College, explained, "Not only is it affordable but it also is supportive and it gets the students through college." The exact nature of the program is a set of classes that allow Prince George's County Public School students to earn dual credit at Prince George's Community College and eventually earn a bachelor's degree at the University of Maryland University College for $10,000 or less.
Blakely Pomietto, acting provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at UMUC told ABC7 News, "They will have earned 30 credits in the high school, 30 credits at the community college, and for accomplishing those milestones, we're going to help pay the rest of the way." As of right now, the program offers three career paths: Business Administration, Computer Networks and Cyber Security and Criminal Justice. To qualify, students need to be in the 11th grade, take a college placement test, write an essay and have at least a 2.5-grade point average.
While the program is relatively small scale at the moment, students appreciate the opportunity to do something that they may not have been able to do otherwise. Daniel Asaboro, a junior at Charles Herbert Flowers High School, is currently on the Cyber Security track, hoping to become a computer engineer. "I'm taking two classes. One of them is called General Psychology and the other one is Introduction to Technology. I think it's a great opportunity and I really like the program so far," he expressed. Jasmine Sanders, another junior at Flowers, says the cost raised a great burden on her family.
"It's nice to know that my parents won't have to pay a lot of money because I do have another sibling and he's in college right now too," she shared. With any luck, other public school systems around the country will put similar programs into practice.