Director's Message

AAP Executive Director Jerry L. Lewis
Dr. Jerry L. Lewis, AAP Executive Director

"Whatever the mind can conceive and believe ... can be achieved." That's the motto we live by at the University of Maryland Academic Achievement Programs (AAP).

Why? Because we've seen repeatedly the difference that is made by believing in oneself and committing oneself to achieving goals, whether they be academic excellence, career aspirations, or personal and professional goals. AAP administers several programs that provide access and retention support services to undergraduate students. Its McNair program prepares students for graduate education leading to a doctoral degree. The Educational Opportunity Center (EOC) assists one thousand (1,000) adults in the Prince Georges' County communities with enrollment and reenrollment in post-secondary education pipeline each year.

AAP Student Support Services and Intensive Educational Development program (SSS/IED) serves as an alternative admissions option for a select number (120-130) of low income and first generation students admitted to the University each year. The SSS/IED program serves 450 students (first year through seniors) who if had been evaluated solely on traditional criteria such as standardized test scores, highest GPA or class rank would have had less of a likelihood of pursuing their education at or earning their degrees from the University of Maryland.

Even though many institutions are introducing initiatives and programs to support students from first generation, low income and underrepresented backgrounds - college access, retention/completion, and graduate/professional school enrollment disparities persist. The challenge for low-income students is more acute today than over the past 10 years and need based financial support for these students is generally less available at the state and federal levels. Programs that make up AAP are critical if the playing field is ever to be leveled for these students to attain a college education. Nationally, the Federal Trio Programs, five of which are a part of AAP (SSS/IED/McNair/EOC/ETS ), only serve 6% of the eligible students. Too few of these talented (low-income and first generation) students reach the halls of higher education institutions and often times when they successfully navigate the maze of standardized test, highly competitive admission processes, and limited financial aid they are still challenged by the rigor of the curriculum due to under-preparedness from high school. AAP programs are not funded or positioned to answer all of the challenges faced by these students. However, it will and must provide high quality educational support services including: academic and career advising, personal and academic counseling, tutoring support, math, English, reading and study skills support to supplement their educational experience. It is AAP's objective to reduce the achievement gap and to improve the retention and graduation of its students.

The McNair Program prepares students to not only enter the graduate school pipeline but to infuse the presence of traditionally underrepresented students in the academy of higher education as faculty and researchers.

The AAP - EOC program is committed to assisting adults in entering or re-entering the educational pipeline to improve the social, educational, intellectual, and economic infrastructure of our surrounding low income communities in Prince George’s County.

As the adverse effects to low-income communities, and the gap between the wealthy and the poor, continue to grow, the need for programs like the ones in AAP and the services they provide to college students will and must also continue to grow.

Dr. Jerry L. Lewis, Executive Director
University of Maryland Academic Achievement Programs
Student Support Services — Summer Transitional Program 
Intensive Educational Development Program — Ronald E. McNair 
Educational Opportunity Center — Educational Talent Search (ETS) North and Central