Communities Invested in Readiness for College, Leadership and Educational Success



Rooted in Community. Ready for College.

CIRCLES brings together cohorts of Howard County Public School students, united by their desire to become the first in their family to graduate from college.  Through community building, test preparation, leadership development, and a hosts of additional resources and supports to students and their families, we become the circle of support required to successfully apply, finance, and complete a college degree.

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Our Mission

Leveraging the power of community, CIRCLES seeks to empower underserved students and their families with the information, resources, and support required to successfully earn a college degree.

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Our Partners

Seed funding for CIRCLES was provided by the United Way of Central Maryland and the Horizon Foundation, through the Changemaker Challenge. The Changemaker Challenge is an event focused on igniting innovative ideas that address some of Howard County’s most pressing issues.



The Challenges

Overall, graduates of Howard County Public School have a high rate of college enrollment and college completion. Despite these overall high post-secondary outcomes, there are persistent gaps between student groups when race, ethnicity, and socio-economic status are considered.

In the HCPSS class of 2010, 61% of students receiving FARMS enrolled in college, compared to 82% of non-FARMS students.



86% of White graduates and 87% of Asian graduates enrolled in college in the fall of 2010. Comparatively, 77% of African American/Black students and 66.7% of Latino students.



Of the class of 2010, 75% of White fall enrollees graduated from college within 6 years, compared to 48.8% of African American/Black fall enrollees and 56.3% of Latino/Hispanic enrollees.



Of the class of 2010, 72.4% of non-FARMS enrollees graduated within 6 years compared to 41.3% of FARMs eligible fall enrollees.


HCPSS: Howard County Public Schools System

FARMS: Free and Reduced Meals