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UMD Wins Five-Year Grant from the Department of Education

The grant will provide additional counseling and academic services to low-income and first-generation college students.


Laura Cech


COLLEGE PARK, MD – The University of Maryland Academic Achievement Programs has won a new five-year grant increase from the U.S. Department of Education for Student Support Services.

The total grant, for $2,355,070 over five years, will fund counseling and academic services for low-income and first-generation participants. It represents a $15,925 per year increase over the previous grant.

“We are thrilled--this grant boost means we’ll be able to help more students with underrepresented backgrounds but high academic potential achieve high academic performance,” said Dr. Jerry L. Lewis, executive director of Academic Achievement Programs (AAP). “This funding will make a meaningful difference at UMD.”

There were, on average, more than 6,807 first-generation or low-come UMD students per year for the academic years 2016 to 2018.

Studies show that academically strong students from low-socioeconomic backgrounds were less likely to graduate from college than students of similar or even lower academic ability from high-socioeconomic backgrounds. The gap is attributed, in part to: lack of confidence in seeking assistance with courses, lack of proficient computer skills (and computer access), and lack of family knowledge and experience to support the students.

“In the current funding environment, extra resources are scarce,” noted William A. Cohen, Associate Provost and Dean for Undergraduate Studies. “That’s why this increase means so much: We’re able to help more students reach their full potential and accomplish their life goals.”

The SSS grant provided by the U.S. Department of Education will seek to address graduation and retention rates and academic disparities through:

  • A six-week Summer Transitional Program to help bridge skill deficiencies in college study and reading skills, mathematics and English,
  • A math “boot camp” available to each beginning SSS students with math deficiencies,
  • Advising and counseling strategies that include frequent meetings with students,
  • Comprehensive tutorial support,
  • Cultural and enrichment activities to contribute to students’ self-confidence, comfort, social capital, and academic engagement,
  • Career, mentoring, and personal development activities.

Dr. Lewis speaks proudly about AAP’s experience in providing these student services. The department maintains, coordinates, and provides leadership, development, assessment, and supervision for seven academic programs (Summer Transitional Program, Student Support Services, Intensive Educational Development, Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program, the Educational Opportunity Center, and the Educational Talent Search Programs (ETS) North and Central. These programs provide academic and counseling support to more than 2,500 low-income and first-generation participants annually who are University and Prince Georges County Public Schools` students, and adult learners throughout Prince Georges County.

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The University of Maryland, College Park is the state's flagship university and one of the nation's preeminent public research universities. A global leader in research, entrepreneurship and innovation, the university is home to more than 41,000 students, 14,000 faculty and staff, and 388,000 alumni all dedicated to the pursuit of Fearless Ideas. Located just outside Washington, D.C., we discover and share new knowledge every day through our renowned research enterprise and programs in academics, the arts and athletics. And we are committed to social entrepreneurship as the nation’s first “Do Good” campus. For more information, visit


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