The University of Maryland is partnering with 15 other colleges and universities across the nation to increase college enrollment among students from rural communities and small towns, according to a Tuesday announcement.

“The STARS Network will allow us to expand upon our existing efforts to reach students in rural areas of Maryland through increased outreach and more robust programming and staffing,” Provost Jennifer King Rice said.

The Small-Town and Rural Students Network, funded by a $20 million donation from nonprofit Trott Family Philanthropies, aims to make college more accessible and affordable for students. Other members of the network include Brown University, Northwestern University and the Ohio State University.

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As part of the network, this university will create a new admissions staff position focused on rural recruitment, according to Tuesday’s news release.

This university will also use the program’s grant funding to focus on recruiting students from the eastern shore and western and northern Maryland, including by providing transportation for admitted students from those areas to attend this year’s Maryland Day event on April 29.

“By helping these students and their families understand the benefits of a college education and introducing them to the highlights of UMD, we can make a significant impact on their lives,” Shannon Gundy, this university’s enrollment management assistant vice president, said.