St. Mary’s College of Maryland will expand its efforts to support underrepresented college students, thanks to a $75,000 grant from the Maryland Higher Education Commission. The grant will go towards the DeSousa-Brent Scholars Program, a program that targets first-generation college students and seeks to give them the support they need to perform at high academic levels.
Previously, this was accomplished through seminars that took place only in the students’ first year at St. Mary’s. Now, the program will support 100 DeSousa-Brent scholars each year, not just the 30 first-year students. The program’s new goals include a 100% four-year graduation rate (including students who transfer to another four-year institution), higher GPAs, more campus leadership, and involvement in rigorous academic pursuits such as the senior thesis and summer research opportunities.
“These enhancements to the DeSousa-Brent Scholars Program are an important mechanism for us to reach the college’s larger goals of maintaining liberal arts education as a public trust and increasing diversity in all of its forms,” says Beth Rushing, vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty. “The DeSousa-Brent scholars enrich our campus in many ways, and I am pleased that this grant allows us to both serve more students and provide a much greater level of support.”