Bell Atlantic Awards $250,000 to University System of Maryland's Historically Black Institutions

Bell Atlantic Awards $250,000 to University System of Maryland's Historically Black Institutions

Grants to Help Students Achieve Their Dream of a College

March 9, 1998

Media contacts:

Bell Atlantic

Sandra Arnette


Univ. System of Md.
Christine Shreeve


ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Financial aid will be provided to the brightest
and neediest students at Maryland's historically black colleges with
the help of a major donation from the Bell Atlantic Foundation.

Bell Atlantic will give the University System of Maryland $250,000
over the next five years to help endow the Bell Atlantic Continuing
Scholars Award program. This program will provide Bowie State
University, Coppin State College and the University of Maryland
Eastern Shore with the one resource that is most critical to ensure
that the brightest students stay in school - direct financial aid.

"Bell Atlantic is taking the lead in addressing what has been an
age-old problem for many students attending historically black
colleges and universities - inadequate funding to pay for their
college education," said Sherry F. Bellamy, president and CEO of Bell
Atlantic - Maryland.

"These grants will have a major impact on the lives of so many young
people who work so hard to get a college education," she said. "Bell
Atlantic challenges other corporations to join in this effort and help
pave the way for our future leaders."

The University System of Maryland hopes to raise an additional $3
million for the endowment fund by the end of its fundraising campaign.
The goal is to assist up to 150 students annually.

According to the University System of Maryland, historically black
colleges face a unique challenge - increasing retention and graduation
rates so the best and brightest students can stay in school to
complete their degrees. The average retention rate for the three
Maryland historically black colleges is about 30 percent. That
compares with an average retention rate of 62 percent at the system's
five other colleges.

"Clearly, something must be done to address this situation," said
John K. Martin, president of the University of Maryland Foundation.
"We are very grateful to Bell Atlantic for stepping up to the plate
and making these grants possible because they will help us address the
non-academic factors that contribute to a meritorious student's
difficulty in pursuing a degree."

By establishing a special scholarship program offered to students who
have completed their first year in college with a B average or better,
the University System of Maryland hopes to provide critical support at
a point in a student's academic career when support can have the most
significant impact.

The University System of Maryland comprises 11 degree granting
institutions and two research and service institutions. The degree
granting institutions are: Bowie State University; Coppin State
College; Frostburg State University; Salisbury State University;
Towson University; University of Baltimore; University of Maryland,
Baltimore; University of Maryland, Baltimore County; University of
Maryland, College Park; University of Maryland Eastern Shore;
University of Maryland University College. The research and service
institutions are the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute
and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.

The Bell Atlantic Foundation supports a variety of projects domestically
and internationally, with an emphasis on new technology applications
in education, health and human services, the arts and humanities, and
civic development in the communities which Bell Atlantic serves. For
more information, visit http://www.bellatlanticfoundation.com on the

Bell Atlantic - formed through the merger of Bell Atlantic and NYNEX -
is at the forefront of the new communications and information
industry. With 40.5 million telephone access lines and six million
wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are premier
providers of advanced wireline voice and data services, market leaders
in wireless services and the world's largest publishers of directory
information. Bell Atlantic companies are also among the world's
largest investors in high-growth global communications markets, with
operations and investments in 21 countries.