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Harford Community College recently received two grant awards through the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) to support student programs.

The Nursing and Allied Health Professions division at the College was awarded a $850,631, 3-year grant for the “Harford Community College-Towson University Collaborative” program.

MHEC made the award on behalf of the Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission. The Nurse Support Program, Phase II was established by the commission to address the recruitment and retention of nurses in Maryland hospitals and to alleviate barriers in nursing education.

The grant will help the College increase its capacity to accommodate more students in its nursing program, which ultimately contributes to the number of nurses graduating from a Maryland nursing program.

Harford is also working with Towson University to dually enroll students who will continue on for a bachelor’s degree at the Towson University in Northeastern Maryland (TUNE) building located on HCC’s west campus.

Two new faculty members will be hired to assist with additional classes and support for retention and maintaining strong student graduation rates.

Laura Cianelli Preston, Dean for Nursing and Allied Health Professions at Harford Community College, stated, “This grant gives HCC the opportunity to graduate more nursing students who are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN exam as well as give them the opportunity to work on their bachelor’s degree in nursing with Towson University at the same time.”

Another grant of $57,214 was awarded through MHEC for continuation of a one-year collaborative program, One Step Away, to increase college completion rates by providing associate and bachelor's degree-granting Maryland institutions with funds to identify, contact, re-enroll, and graduate near-completer students.

At Harford, One Step Away provides one-on-one, concierge advising and support that walks students through the re-admission process, gets them scheduled for classes, and assists with the financial aid process.

The One Step Away Grant has tangible results for students and the community at large. HCC Associate Vice President for Enrollment Services Patrick Elliott, who is the grant program director, summarized these benefits: “Since 2014, the One Step Away program helped more than 200 students graduate, and we anticipate at least 30 more graduating this year. One Step Away graduates, who otherwise would be stuck near the finish line, earn a recognized credential that likely will increase job opportunities and lifetime earnings. Harford County and the region benefit from an expanded pool of college-educated, prepared, motived workers to support our economy.”

The goal of the program is to assist students who are very near completion to fulfill their requirements for earning an associate degree. Program eligibility requirements include the following: 45 or more college-level credits completed; student has not been enrolled in college for at least one year; student did not transfer to or finish a degree at another institution; and student is in good academic standing.

The “One Step Away Complete College Maryland State Grant Program” is funded by the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC). This commission is Maryland's higher education coordinating board responsible for establishing statewide policies for Maryland public and private colleges and universities and for-profit career schools. MHEC also administers state financial aid programs that affect students on a statewide basis.

Former Harford Community College students interested in learning about their eligibility for completion of their degree can contact:

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