Kandra Baltimore is an 18-year old graduate of Southwestern High School. While in school, Kandra maintained excellent grades and a 95 percent attendance rate during her junior and senior year. Kandra, then, had good reason to feel college bound. But Kandra was one of five children of a non-working single parent pressed to deal with the attendant problems of that unhappy circumstance. The chances of Kandra’s being able to afford college were proving to be slim.
Enter, CollegeBound. As it does currently for 163 college freshmen, sophomores and juniors who were once in Kandra’s circumstances, CollegeBound Foundation advisors provided Kandra assistance in securing financial aid and then helped her to subsidize the remaining costs of tuition through CollegeBound grants. (Last year CollegeBound awarded $72,000 in last-dollar grants to 59 college freshmen and more than $100,000 to 120 college sophomores and juniors.) Kandra was able to enter Notre Dame College and begin her studies towards her goal–to become a pediatrician.
There are thousands of Baltimore area high school students like Kandra–students with the qualifications but who lack the funds and the family culture that moves young people along in the college admission process. It is the mission of CollegeBound Foundation to encourage and enable Baltimore City public high school students to go on to college. The program works with students by encouraging them to take the SATs; sharing with them in college selection; assisting them in their filling out of complicated financial aid forms; and awarding them with, when all else fails–last dollar funding. During the 1991-92 school year CollegeBound awarded $186,170 to deserving students. Since it was founded in 1988 CollegeBound has provided financial support for about 1,600 students; including SAT fees for more than 1,000 students, and financial aid application fees for more than 500 students.
Since its inception in 1988, CollegeBound efforts have resulted in a 24 percent increase in the percentage of Baltimore City public high school students taking the SATs (compared to a slight decrease statewide); a 46 percent increase in the percentage of students completing Financial Aid forms; a dramatic increase (77 percent) in the number of students who completed college applications, increasing from 25 percent in 1990 to 46 percent in 1991.
A closer look at these students shows their families’ per capita income to be an average of $6,435. Yet families were able to provide an average contribution of only $1,035 towards the costs of a child’s education.
CollegeBound has its work cut out for it. According to a report issued by the Baltimore City Department of Planning, Baltimore has the third worst percentage of college graduates in America (ranking only behind Cleveland and Detroit) and the worst percentage of students graduating high school.
The community, happily, sees hope and promise in CollegeBound; it has passed judgement on its value and has opened its heart and its wallet to it, contributing $13,000,000 towards College Bound ‘s goal of $25,000,000; $12,800,000 of that amount has been earmarked for endowment; the remainder to date, $200,000, has been designated for operating funds. CollegeBound was founded by the Greater Baltimore Committee, Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development and Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke.
Through the creative and energetic efforts of CollegeBound Foundation, many aspiring and deserving students who could only dream of being college bound, thanks to CollegeBound, really are.