I saw the sign.
Driving down Little Patuxent Parkway, my attention was turned to the breathtaking blue across the street and it was a sign.
I think it’s new.
The sign is in front of Howard Community College and, in my opinion, it’s a real attention grabber. Not because it’s large or gaudy (it isn’t) but because it somehow manages to look like a traditional painted sign while really being an electronic one. And the particular shade of blue is stunning.
Encountering the sign reminded me of some of the smart and admirable things that HCC has been doing lately. You may have seen that they have allocated specific funds for students whose circumstances have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.
Impact may include loss of personal or family income, increased utility bills, change in childcare, food needs, healthcare needs, change in housing expenses, technology-related expenses, or expenses incurred as a result of the changes to course format and instruction.
And just this week it was announced that HCC has paid off outstanding debt for more than 2,000 students, spending:
…$1.64 million of federal relief funds to clear the student debt for a total of 2,050 students. The college concentrated its debt assistance on students with outstanding balances from the start of the pandemic to the end of the summer 2021 session, which concluded recently concluded.
After the balances were cleared, each student received notification that any holds on their account were removed. This important step ensures students can register for classes, acquire transcripts, or transfer to four-year colleges and universities without owing any funds to Howard Community College. Additionally, students can now focus their personal funding on important everyday living expenses.
In both of these actions HCC is making it possible for students to move forward. COVID has placed so many lives on hold over the last year and a half. Each of us has experienced that in our own way. But it has been exceptionally challenging for members of our community who aren’t buoyed up by any sort of affluence: no family nest egg, no generational wealth, no steady income from high paying jobs with health care and assorted benefits.