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Grants to Maryland IHEs to Increase Graduation Rates for Students Who Have Dropped Out


Geographic Focus

USA: Maryland

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One Step Away Grant Program

Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC)

Agency: State

GrantWatch ID #143691

Grant Description

Grants of up to $60,000 to Maryland institutions of higher education to enable students to complete their studies. Funding is intended to support programs that target students who have dropped out or fallen short of their academic credit requirements. Grants are available to allow institutions to identify, contact, re-enroll, and graduate "near-completer students."

Institutions are encouraged to target near-completers who may be able to graduate within the institutions reported six-year graduation rates (i.e. initial enrollment in 2014-2015 academic year). Institutions may also include near-completers from earlier initial enrollment years, as long as the “six-year graduation cohort” is not excluded from the outreach and recruitment efforts. 

One Step Away provides funds to institutions to identify, contact, re-enroll and graduate stop-out and drop-out students who:

  1. Have completed at least 75% of the credits required to earn an associate or bachelor’s degree, or have received enough credits for an associate or bachelor’s degree but have not been awarded the degree;
  2. Are in good academic standing; and
  3. Have dropped-out or stopped-out for at least 12 consecutive months. 

Proposals must address the overarching grant program goals by including three of the following objectives:

  • Objective 1: Develop new and/or improve existing outreach strategies to inform and encourage near-completers to re-enroll in college.
  • Objective 2: Enhance student support systems to include academic, financial, and/or social advising that facilitate smooth re-entry into the educational environment and retention through degree completion.
  • Objective 3: Increase re-enrollment rates of near-completers by offering a track/plan of study which will increase the speed of completion.
  • Objective 4: Establish and implement prior learning assessments or competency based testing to award college credit for returning adult learners.
  • Objective 5: Develop a general studies or other type of associate or bachelor’s degree program for which students who have accumulated a high number of credits (45 or 75 credits for an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree respectively), but not necessarily the correct credits for the originally intended degree program may qualify.
  • Objective 6: Increase re-enrollment rates of near-completers by offering new campus- based sustainable financial aid options using campus or other financial aid resources for support such as textbook waivers and/or tuition discounts.

For details about fundable activities, see:

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  • Others (see text field entitled "Additional Eligibility Criteria" for clarification)

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Grant Applicant Eligibility: Accredited Maryland public and nonprofit independent two- year and four-year associate and bachelor’s degree-granting colleges and universities.

Pre-Application Information:

- Request for Proposals Issued: April 25, 2022
- Technical Assistance: For technical assistance, contact Priscilla Moore by 3:00 p.m. on May 6, 2022
- Applications Due by 4:00 p.m. to MHEC May 27, 2022
- Award Notifications (via email, by 12:00 am midnight) June 24, 2022
- Grant Project Start Date June 24, 2022
- Grantee Post Award Data Submission Instructions June 2022
- First Payment - 50% of Award Funds June 2022
- Institutions forward One Step Away Student List to MHEC to match with MVA records by June 30, 2022
- MHEC forwards One Step Away Student List with updated addresses to institutions July 15, 2022

Institutions must provide in-kind or matching funds in an amount equal to at least 1/3 of the total project cost.

Additional Funding Information:

Estimated Size of Grant:

Up to $60,000 may be requested per institution

Term of Contract:

Grant Period: June 24, 2022 to August 25, 2023

Contact Information:

Submit applications to

Direct questions to Priscilla Moore at the email address listed above.

Office of Outreach and Grants Management
Maryland Higher Education Commission
6 North Liberty Street, 10th Floor
Baltimore, MD 21201

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