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More Than 2,000 Students Receive BOOST Scholarships for 2016-17

New Program Provides Financial Aid to Attend Nonpublic Schools

BALTIMORE – The new Broadening Options and Opportunities for Students Today (BOOST) Program provided scholarships this fall to more than 2,000 low-income Maryland students to attend nonpublic or faith-based schools.

The BOOST legislation was created in the 2016 legislation session with the support of Senate President Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael Busch, and was signed into law by Governor Larry Hogan. The new program provides scholarships for low-income students eligible for the free or reduced price lunch program.

“Every Maryland child should have access to a world-class education, regardless of the neighborhood they grow up in,” said Governor Hogan. “With innovative programs like this, Maryland is giving students the opportunity for a better education and a brighter future.”

As of September 2016, a total of $4.3 million in scholarships had been awarded to 2,039 students. Scholarships ranged from $1,000 to $4,400 each, with the highest award amount going to students who qualified for the Free Meal Program and attended a public school last year. Altogether, nearly
$5 million will be awarded for the 2016-17 school year.

The BOOST program was available for students in kindergarten through 12th grade who already attend or had applied to attend one of the participating schools. The program was announced this summer, with an application deadline of July 11.

MSDE compiled a list of applicants, ranking eligible students by family income expressed as a percent of the most recent federal poverty levels. The BOOST Advisory Board made final decisions regarding how the scholarship funds were allocated among eligible applicants.