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College Reentry Students News Releases

Morgan State University’s Center for Continuing and Professional Studies Receives $850K in Grants Supporting Adult Learner Education

by Morgan State U
July 27, 2022

The Crankstart and Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundations Provide Much-Needed Resources to Assist Mature and/or College Reentry Students in Achieving a Bachelor’s Degree


 BALTIMORE — In the furtherance of its support of adult learner education and expansion of degree attainment for mature students, Morgan State University, by way of its Center for Continuing and Professional Studies (CCPS), has received grants totaling $850,000 from the Crankstart Foundation and the Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation. The $800,000 received from the Crankstart Foundation will be used to extend the funding for the Crankstart Reentry Scholarship program for an additional two years, while the remaining $50,000 will be utilized to establish the Charlotte W. Newcombe Scholarship for Mature Students.

Nilajah Nyasuma Sims, Ed.D“We are pleased to have the continued support of the Crankstart Foundation as we seek to increase the opportunities for more adult learners to earn a college degree. Through our partnership with the Foundation we have seen significant increases in the number of nontraditional students returning to and completing college,” said Nilajah Nyasuma Sims, Ed.D., acting director and scholarship administrator for CCPS. “Adult learners are among the nation’s fastest-growing segment of college students and represent a substantial population of the people who have some college credit, but no degree, who are seeking opportunities to complete their education. The additional resources we have received from the Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation are welcomed and greatly appreciated and will assist our efforts in helping more adults become college graduates.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, an estimated 15% of the adult population has some college credit but no degree. This equates to approximately 39 million people throughout the U.S.

To date, CCPS has received nearly $1.6 million in grant contributions from the San Francisco-based Crankstart Foundation. Initially inspired by a $1-million endowment the University received from the Bernard Osher Foundation, the Crankstart Foundation funded the Reentry Scholarship Program at Morgan in 2016. In the first six years of Morgan’s Crankstart Reentry Scholarship Program, 54 nontraditional Morgan students have graduated, earning their degrees. Crankstart Reentry Scholars, as they are known, are pursuing degrees in 33 majors at Morgan, including such popular programs as Applied Liberal Studies, Business Management, Social Work, Psychology, Engineering, Computer Science, Education and Sociology. With the latest round of funding, the Crankstart Foundation has extended the term of the grant from two to four years.  

Adult students looking to take advantage of the available resources and become Crankstart Reentry Scholars must be enrolled at Morgan (part-time or full-time), returning to the University after a gap of five or more years and pursuing their first bachelor’s degree. Eligible applicants also must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents aged 25–50 and must have a GPA of 2.7 or higher.

Lisa BushAdding to the investments made in the support of adult learners, the Center for Continuing and Professional Studies was also awarded $50,000 from the Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation to establish the Newcombe Scholarship for Mature Students. The new scholarship offers adult students an opportunity to enroll at Morgan in pursuit of their first bachelor’s degree. Eligible applicants must be 25 years of age or older and also possess a GPA of 2.50 or higher and be in financial need. To amplify the impact of the grant award and expand the University’s ability to reach even more adult learners, the Morgan State University Foundation has provided a 1:1 match of the Newcombe Foundation funds, increasing the available scholarship resources to $100,000.

Founded in 1979, the private, Princeton, New Jersey-based Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation was created to provide scholarship support for mature students, students with disabilities and selected populations of students in need of monetary assistance. Historically, the foundation has provided financial aid for mature students whose pursuit of a bachelor’s degree is complicated by personal responsibilities or challenging circumstances requiring significant financial and/or time commitments. The Newcombe Foundation is selective in awarding its grants. Proposals are accepted by invitation only.

ReEntry Students“Support from organizations like the Crankstart and Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundations serves to improve the quality of life for the people benefiting from their generosity,” added Dr. Sims. “Offering these types of scholarships to adult students is having a real impact, as is evident in the increases we’re seeing in their rate of enrollment, retention and graduation. Our hope is to help even more of these students to fulfill their educational dreams.”

Housed within the University’s newly launched College of Interdisciplinary and Continuing Studies, the Center for Continuing and Professional Studies serves the lifelong educational needs of traditional and nontraditional students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, professional and personal growth aspirations. In keeping with Morgan’s mission, CCPS delivers services and programs designed to meet the specific needs of individuals at any point in their educational development. In addition to the Crankstart, Osher Reentry and Newcombe Foundation scholarship programs, CCPS also offers the Improved Opportunities for Parents (IOP) and the Beryl W. Williams Scholarships for adult learners.

About Morgan

Morgan State University, founded in 1867, is a Carnegie-classified high research (R2) institution offering more than 140 academic programs leading to degrees from the baccalaureate to the doctorate. As Maryland’s Preeminent Public Urban Research University, and the only university to have its entire campus designated as a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Morgan serves a multiethnic and multiracial student body and seeks to ensure that the doors of higher education are opened as wide as possible to as many as possible. For more information about Morgan State University, visit

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Media Contacts:

Larry Jones or Dell Jackson, for University PR