Cumberland Times-News

December 16, 2013

Grant improves college’s advising services

ACM one of 39 in nation to receive federal funding

Greg Larry
Cumberland Times-News

— CUMBERLAND — Students at Allegany College of Maryland are receiving improved college and career guidance as the result of a $1.9 million federal grant the college has received for the purpose of upgrading the school’s advising services.

The upgrades resulting from the grant were discussed Monday during the regular monthly meeting of ACM’s Board of Trustees.

The Title III grant, under the Strengthening Institutions Program of the U.S. Department of Education, was awarded in October and will be spread out over five years with ACM receiving $450,000 in the first year.

ACM was one of 39 colleges across the nation to receive the grant.

“We cannot be more pleased. This funding will directly advance our mission of serving our community and placing students first,” said Cynthia Bambara, ACM president.

The title of the ACM grant is Centralized Academic Advising in Rural Appalachia: Ensuring Student Success and Completion.

In addition to enhanced advising services, ACM officials say that career planning, support counseling, educational coaching and mentoring services will also be upgraded through the grant.

The grant is helping ACM to renovate a section of the College Center to create a one-stop advising center.

“We are taking some of that square footage in the admissions registration area and knocking some walls down and redesigning the space,” said Bambara.

Bambara said the one-stop center will provide advisers with private office space.

“Previously we did the advising at a round table off in the corner,” Bambara said.

Although the one-stop center will be in Cumberland, Bambara also plans to upgrade the advising services at the school’s Bedford and Somerset, Pa., campuses as well.

The grant has also cleared the way for the hiring of a director, three advisers and the creation of part-time hours.

In other news from the meeting, the college has also received a $75,000 grant to assist a total of 20 eligible seniors from Fort Hill and Allegany high schools to take college level courses.

The Maryland Higher Education Commission has issued the grant through the College Preparation Intervention Program.

“The program is aimed to get students into the college pipeline,” said Bambara.

Bambara said the program will begin in the fall of 2014.

The grant pays for tuition, books and fees, and provides transportation for the students to the ACM campus.

It was also announced at the meeting that 241 students have applied for winter graduation, with 271 awards expecting to be issued. The commencement will take place at 7 p.m. on Friday in the Bob Kirk Arena.

The top fields of graduation are 70 in nursing, 29 in general studies and 27 technical studies graduates.

Greg Larry can be contacted at glarry@times-news.com.