ANNAPOLIS, MD. 05-09-17---The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) is now accepting applications for the Broadening Options and Opportunities for Students Today (BOOST), a scholarship program designed to help income eligible students attend nonpublic schools.
The state's $43.5 billion budget for the next fiscal year includes $5.5 million for BOOST, $500,000 more than the 2016-17 school year. The increase to the budget, together with the remaining funds from the current program, will provide nearly $6 million in scholarships for the 2017-18 school year.
“The Conference was grateful to both the legislature and Governor Hogan for their work in continuing and expanding the opportunities that this program is providing to thousands of families. As it turns out, we’re not alone in that. The demand for information about the program has been high since the legislative session began and we expect many more parents to apply this year,” said Maryland Catholic Conference Associate Director for Education Garrett O’Day. “There are so many parents who want educational options for their children, especially in the lower-income areas of the state. This program is delivering and more and more parents are counting on it.”
The BOOST scholarship was established in March 2016 by the Maryland General Assembly, and is administered by the MSDE and seven-member BOOST Advisory Board appointed by the state legislature. The program is available for students either already attending or hoping to attend a nonpublic school. Students must be enrolled in – or have applied to – a participating school before completing the application. Priority will be given to students coming from public schools.
Nearly 2,500 students, from 20 of the 24 counties in the state (including Baltimore City), received scholarships in the inaugural year. Public school students received 46 percent of the total scholarship assistance in 2016-17 and received higher scholarship amounts than their counterparts who already attended a nonpublic school. Students coming from public school were offered scholarships totaling $2.25 million of the $4.85 million awarded.
Scholarships range from $1,000 to $4,400 each, with the highest amount going to students who qualify for the federal governments free or reduced-price meals program and attended a public school the previous year.
Students who received a BOOST scholarship in 2016-2017, and who still meet the eligibility criteria, are eligible to renew their scholarships, but must complete an application to receive an award in 2017-2018. The application deadline is June 15.
Additional can be found at http://www.educationmaryland.org/.
The Maryland Catholic Conference represents all three dioceses with territory in the state – the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Archdiocese of Washington, and the Diocese of Wilmington.