MCHENRY — The Garrett County commissioners and Garrett College are working to implement a 2.5 GPA as the minimum for students to continue receiving Garrett County Scholarship Program funding.

Beginning with the fall semester, students receiving scholarship support from the county-funded program must earn a 2.5 GPA each semester in order to continue receiving funding. The previous GPA requirement was 2.0.

“We feel it is reasonable to expect that level of achievement in order for students to receive a county-funded college education,” said Garrett County Commission Chair Paul Edwards. “The commissioners remain committed to supporting our local students attending our county’s community college, but we also have a fiscal responsibility to taxpayers to ensure their tax dollars are being used wisely.”

The revised procedures set up an appeals process for students who do not reach the standard to petition for a probationary semester in order to raise their GPA to the required minimum.

“The commissioners have been extremely fair in this process,” said Richard Midcap, Garrett College president. “I understand their rationale for the change, and I appreciate the flexibility they have provided in approving an appeals process that allows us to consider special circumstances.”

Both new and returning students will have to achieve a 2.5 GPA this fall in order to be eligible for spring 2020 scholarship funding.

Garrett College has a wide array of support services, including tutoring, and Midcap said that college staff plans to even more actively engage with students who struggle academically.

“The 2.5 is a more challenging requirement, but we have the resources at the college to assist students who need help in meeting that requirement,” said Midcap.

The program will continue to provide tuition and fee support for eligible Garrett County high school graduates for up to 64 credit hours and any required developmental coursework. Commissioner Jim Hinebaugh, who was the county’s economic development director in 2006, was the guiding force behind the program’s launch as the first of its kind in the country.

The program was expanded in 2011 to include noncredit certificate programs and dual enrollment.

The program application is available at https://www.garrettcollege.edu/images/admissions/financialaid/gcsp-application.pdf.

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