By DAVID M. JOHNSON
More than $4.5 billion in recovery funds were funneled to Maryland businesses or schools, directly creating 4,464 jobs according to the state's recovery web site. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funded large projects, like a $300 million grant awarded to SAIC-Frederick for cancer research, but also smaller ones. This is the last in a series of articles highlighting ARRA projects and lesser-known Maryland businesses who won the loans, grants or contracts to complete them.
CALIFORNIA (Nov. 1, 2009) - Liz Halvosa of the Blades School of Hair Design was shocked to find out the cosmetology school was listed as a recipient of recovery act funds.
"I was very upset that we were listed because that was very misleading," said Halvosa about the appearance on ARRA's web site. "We didn't even know the money was recovery money.
Blades School is receiving $101,080 of more than $91 million in recovery money allotted to the Pell Grant program in Maryland for two school years.
Blades School, like most universities and trade schools, receives federal loans and grants given to students who qualify for financial aid. Grants funded by money given to the U.S. Department of Education from the recovery act were awarded to students attending traditional state institutions like the University of Maryland and lesser-known schools like the Baltimore Holistic Health Center.
The maximum amount availible for students eligible for Pell Grants was increased by $600 this year to $5,550 with recovery money.
Enrollment has increased in many colleges and trade schools since the recession began, including Blades School. Students who depend on Pell Grant money would have had a tougher time without ARRA funding according to Halvosa.
"Whenever there's a recession every school picks up," Halvosa said. "(Grant money) impacts our student population greatly because it's a chance for people to improve themselves. They're all getting into debt with student loans too."
Former Sen. Claiborne Pell, D-R.I., created the financial aid program that bears his name as a need-based grant program for low-income students seeking higher education. Blades School students were so appreciative of the Pell Grant program, they collectively sent a signed card to his wife when Pell died last January.
Even though jobs are hard to come by in a down economy, Blades School graduates may have an easier time if they stick with cosmetology.
Jobs in cosmetology are expected to increase by 14 percent from 2006 to 2014 according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook. The faster-than-average job growth is attributed to estimated population increases.
Capital News Service contributed to this report.