Students entering college who want to make a difference in various areas of public service are eligible for financial aid from the Maryland Higher Education Commission. The agency is currently accepting applications for the Workforce Shortage Student Assistance Grant (WSSAG).
Maryland Higher Education Commission
May 14, 2008
Students entering college who want to make a difference in various areas of public service are eligible for financial aid from the Maryland Higher Education Commission.
The agency is currently accepting applications for the Workforce Shortage Student Assistance Grant (WSSAG). This extremely important scholarship program targets those who want to pursue workforce shortage needs in Maryland such as:
• Human Services Fields
• Physical and Occupational Therapists and Assistants
• Child Care Providers; and various other public service careers as defined by MHEC.
“Workforce shortage is a critical need in Maryland,” said Secretary James E. Lyons, Sr. “Working with the O’Malley/Brown administration, MHEC is working hard to encourage people to fill these extremely vital positions. This one of my top priorities as Secretary as well as Governor O’Malley and Lt. Governor Brown.”
In order to qualify for the WSSAG financial aid program, students must major in a program that leads to a workforce shortage need field and agree to work in one of these careers for at least one year for each year they receive the scholarship.
For instance, if applicants apply for the scholarship for four years studying to be teachers, nurses or others in the required field, they may be eligible to receive the scholarship for all-four years while in college, but then must serve four (and hopefully more) years in the field for which they received the scholarship.
Applicants must be Maryland residents enrolled as full- or part-time degree seeking undergraduate or graduate students at an eligible Maryland institution of higher learning. Detailed eligible majors and employments fields can be accessed by going to the MHEC website: MDgo4it.org. Award amounts range from $1,000 to $4,000 per academic year based on type of institution and enrollment status. Awards are subject to the availability of funds. Applicants will be selected for awards based on merit and need-based criteria. Applications and all required documents must be submitted to the Office of Student Financial Assistance by June 1, 2008 to be considered for awards beginning in September 2008.
In December 2006, the Advisory Council on Workforce Shortage identified workforce shortage fields in the State and recommended to the Commission priority workforce shortage fields to be included in the grant program and those that should be removed.
The Advisory Council will make recommendations to the Commission every two years in September on the occupations to be included or removed from the grant program. The recommendations will include a list of priority demand occupations that shall take into consideration whether the occupation provided a public good or benefit to the citizens of Maryland.
The Maryland Higher Education Commission is a 12-member coordinating board responsible for establishing statewide policies for Maryland public and independent colleges and universities and private career schools. It serves as an advocate for more than 325,000 college students in Maryland, for the State and its needs, and for business and industry in Maryland.