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

One Step Away Grant Program


GrantWatch ID#

Funding Source
Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC)
Array ( )

Geographic Focus
USA: Maryland

Important Dates
Deadline: 06/02/23 4:00 PM Save

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 2015-2016 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 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 to 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 general studies or another type of associate or bachelor’s degree program for which students who have accumulated 45 or 90 credits for an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree, respectively but not necessarily the correct credits for the initially 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 tuition discounts. 

For details about fundable activities,


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: May 8, 2023
- Technical Assistance: For technical assistance, contact Kendall Cook by 3:00 p.m. on May 10, 2023
- Applications Due by 4:00 p.m. to MHEC: June 2, 2023
- Award Notifications (via email, by 12:00 am midnight): June 16, 2023
- Project Start Date: June 16, 2023
- Grantee Post Award Data Submission Instructions: June 2023
- First Payment - 50% of Award Funds: June 2023
- Institutions forward One Step Away Student List to MHEC to match with MVA records: by June 30, 2023
- MHEC forwards One Step Away Student List with updated addresses to institutions: July 14, 2023
- Institutions issue initial contact letter or other communication to One Step Away Students: by August 25, 2023
- Re-enrollment of One Step Away Students: Fall 2023 and Winter/Spring 2024 Semesters
- Legislative Data Report: Due December 22, 2023
- Interim Report Due: December 22, 2023
- Release Remaining Grant Funds: January 2024
- Project End Date: August 31, 2024
- Final Narrative, Data, & Financial Reports Due (Any unspent grant funds to be returned at this time): November 29, 2024

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

Estimated Size of Grant
Up to $60,000 may be requested per institution

Term of Contract
Grant Period: June 16, 2024 to August 31, 2024

Contact Information
Submit applications and direct questions to Kendall Cook​ at

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

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