The University of Maryland Eastern Shore and Wor-Wic Community College have established a financial incentive for recent graduates of the two-year school in Salisbury to continue their studies 17 miles south in Princess Anne.
Wor-Wic President Dr. Ray Hoy, Wor-Wic’s president, and UMES President Dr. Heidi M. Anderson signed a “memorandum of understanding” that initially commits the university to providing nearly $260,000 in financial aid to Wor-Wic alumni enrolled at UMES starting this fall.
UMES will invest some of the $20 million philanthropist MacKenzie Scott donated to the university to establish the scholarship fund, fulfilling a pledge Anderson made in December 2020 when the gift was announced.
"The journey to achieve the dream of a college education often begins at the community college level,” Anderson said. “This scholarship will help those students who wish to continue that learning path earning a broader four-year degree.
“By transferring from Wor-Wic to UMES,” she said, “students can deepen their passion for what they really want to do, while saving time and money reaching their ultimate goal."
Any Wor-Wic alum who graduated over the past 18 months, including those currently enrolled at UMES, are eligible. They will receive $3,500 annually toward their in-state tuition bill for up to six semesters.
Hoy called it “an exciting partnership between the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and Wor-Wic Community College that will benefit the citizens of the Lower Shore.”
“We’re signing an agreement today [June 9] to provide a more affordable pathway for college completion for Wor-Wic graduates transferring to UMES,” Hoy said.
Three Wor-Wic applicants will qualify for a full-ride financial aid package known as a “presidential scholarship” worth $8,585 annually.
“Recipients will be evaluated based on the information submitted with their application,” said Latoya Jackson, UMES’ Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Experience. “This information includes but is not limited to transcripts, personal narrative, and recommendations.”
In May, the University System of Maryland’s governing board set UMES’ in-state tuition rate at $5,526 — or $2,763 per semester — for the 2021-22 academic year, a 2% increase.
“This is terrific news,” said Regina Bailey, a May 2021 Wor-Wic graduate planning to study social work at UMES starting this fall. “It will certainly give me more flexibility in my budget.”
Bailey, 40, works fulltime for a physician affiliated with Atlantic General Hospital in Berlin as well as part-time at the nearby Walmart.
“So you can see, having help paying for school is something I would be deeply grateful for,” she said.
Dozens of Wor-Wic students like Bailey who earn an associate’s degree choose to enroll at UMES annually looking to transform that credential into a bachelor’s degree.
Both Lower Shore colleges offer instruction in such fields as hospitality/hotel-motel-restaurant management, physical therapy, early childhood education, construction (management) and law enforcement that could ease the transfer path for scholarship recipients to earn a bachelor’s degree.
There is no minimum grade point average requirement and as an added incentive, a standard application fee will be waived for Wor-Wic alumni who apply.
Both institutions will revisit the incentive program in a year to decide if it will be extended and offered to spring 2022 Wor-Wic graduates.
The two schools previously created a pathway for top Wor-Wic students taking chemistry in the college’s “pre-pharmacy concentration” to qualify for admissions to UMES graduate program in the School of Pharmacy, commonly called a “2+3 pathway” that Hoy pointed to with pride during his remarks.