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Consolidation Resource Center Funds Student Scholarships

  • Sunday, January 28, 2007

    Photo:  Pictured left to right are George Smith, Consolidated Resource Center; Ronald Brown, Ph.D., vice president for Student Life and Enrollment Management, UMES; Vera Miles-Heath, financial aid counselor, UMES; David King, Consolidated Resource Center. 


    PRINCESS ANNE, MD - Consolidation Resource Center, a partner with the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in helping students pay for higher education, recently donated $10,000 to the Campaign for Academic Excellence.

    For the more than 50 percent of UMES students who represent the first generation of their family to go to college, the financial obligation can be staggering. Yet the diploma, and the education it represents, is a ticket to a better life; so most families are willing to undertake it.

    "That's why it is a priority of the current fundraising effort to enlarge the number of endowed scholarships available," said Ronald H. Brown, Ph.D., vice president of student life and enrollment management. "Almost 50 percent of UMES students graduate in six years, the best percentage among historically black colleges in Maryland."

    As anyone with a family member in college already knows, few can do it without borrowing money. The majority of UMES students depend on financial aid to meet their tuition obligations. And most know that the financial aid office is a good place to start looking for the money needed to pay for school.

    What you may not know is that colleges and universities are required by law to conduct exit interviews with students who have borrowed money "to reinforce their understanding of their loan repayment obligations," said James Kellam, director of financial aid at UMES.

    Some lenders assist colleges in that process. Consolidated Resource Partners is one of the lenders who participate in the exit counseling process. It costs the college nothing but the end result of this partnership between campus financial aid officials and commercial lenders is a lower default rate.

    The cost of going to college and staying in school remain barriers to graduation for many students, including those at UMES. Over 90 percent of UMES students qualify for federal financial aid.

    But they do graduate, most within six years, and begin to "pay it forward," rewarding the university's to help them up the ladder. In recent years, UMES alumni contributions have increased dramatically, going from 2.5 percent in 2003 to 15 percent in FY2006.  

    Major gifts to underwrite scholarships at UMES include a $3 million gift from Salisbury-area philanthropist Richard Hazel to fund teacher education in 2004; it was the largest ever by an individual to a black college in Maryland.

    Private gifts to the university are made to the UMES Foundation, which is part of the University System of Maryland Foundation, Inc., a not-for-profit corporation separate from the University System of Maryland.  The Foundation is a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Rev