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Keep Me Maryland 5K to lessen college students' financial woes


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Published on: Wednesday, October 02, 2013

By Alexis A. Goring

The University of Maryland, College Park will host its inaugural 5K “Keep Me Maryland” run Sunday to raise money for students in need of financial aid.

Keep Me Maryland is “an emergency fund created to assist students at risk of leaving from the university due to financial hardship.”

Sarah Bauder, assistant vice president of financial aid for the University of Maryland, gave a speech at one of the Board of Trustees meetings about the economy and how parents and students were struggling. She said her office was receiving a lot of appeals for financial aid, but there wasn’t enough funding available to give.

“Let’s say the student asks for $1,000, and you can give them $700. You can’t give them the full thousand, but the fact that you can give something changes their psychological way of thinking and, often times, they’ll find the additional funding. …When we say yes, it makes a difference,” Bauder said.

Board of Trustees member Harvey Sanders had an idea for a program which they called “Keep Me Maryland,” where the money raised will go directly to students in need.

 “Harvey Sanders … has such passion, a real heart for marginalized students,” Bauder said. “His passion is contagious and so a lot of people have gotten on board.”

Bauder and her colleagues hope this will be first of many Keep Me Maryland 5K runs and she believes its uniqueness will help keep it around for years.

“It’s very unique,” she said. “How many 5K races have you heard of that they’re raising money for students who would have to drop out of college?”

Students have the ability to get funding from the federal government and the university, and if they don’t have enough, they can appeal for more. Bauder estimates that the amount of appeals her office received went from an average of about 500 appeals a year for about 15 years up to 750 in 2007.

“And then in 2008 everything hit the fan,” Bauder said.

Appeals increased to about 1,200 that year and doubled to 2,400 in 2009, Bauder estimated.

“So we were doubling every single year for three years,” she said. “Now, it’s gone way back down. We’ve normalized again this year.”

Between 600 and 700 people have registered to run Sunday. Registration is not required for the public to be bystanders.

The race starts at 9 a.m., and participants should be at the Comcast Center 30 to 45 minutes beforehand. Parking is available at the Comcast Center and a parking permit is not needed, Bauder said.

Racers will receive an Under Armour shirt that normally costs $25, water along the route, and raffle tickets to be given out at 10 a.m. for prizes.

Participants will meet at the Comcast Center, run around the campus and circle back to finish the race at the starting point.

“The weather is going to be beautiful, and it’s a good cause,” Bauder said. “It’s always good to educate the public.”

More information about Keep Me Maryland is available at http://keepmemaryland.umd.edu/.

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