BALTIMORE — The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) announced the opening of the application process for a scholarship program designed to help income eligible students attend non-public schools.
The Broadening Options and Opportunities for Students Today (BOOST) Program, entering its second year, will provide nearly $6 million in scholarships for students who are eligible for the free- or reduced-price lunch program. The BOOST program was the result of a bipartisan compromise during the 2016 session of the Maryland General Assembly, and received widespread support from legislators in both parties.
“Our administration is committed to ensuring that every single child in Maryland has the chance to get a world-class education, regardless of what neighborhood they happen to grow up in,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “This innovative program, forged through bipartisan cooperation, offers expanded options and opportunities for Maryland families and students.”
More than 2,500 students received BOOST Scholarships for the 2016-17 school year. Scholarships ranged from $1,000 to $4,400 each, with the highest award amount going to students who had qualified for the Free Meal Program and attended a public school the previous year.
The BOOST program is available for students either already attending or hoping to attend a nonpublic participating school. Students must be enrolled in— or have applied to— a potential participating school before completing the BOOST application.
All applications will be reviewed by MSDE to ensure completion and income eligibility. MSDE will compile a list of applicants that ranks eligible students by family income expressed as a percent of the most recent federal poverty levels. MSDE will then provide a count of eligible students by category to the BOOST Advisory Board. The categories reflect whether the student attended a public or private school the prior year and whether the student qualifies for Free Meals or Reduced Meals. The BOOST Advisory Board will determine how the scholarship funds are allocated among the categories.
Students who received a BOOST Scholarship in the 2016-2017 school year and who still meet the eligibility criteria must complete an application by the deadline— Thursday, June 15, 2017. The electronic application and a list of potential participating schools is available at http://marylandpublicschools.org/Pages/boost/index.aspx.