Maryland Aims to Make Higher Education More Affordable


In the state of Maryland, measures are being taken to make higher education more affordable. In 2009, Maryland set a goal to have 55% of its population college educated by 2025. It is already at 48%, which is ahead of pace to achieve this goal.

The new plan would help students from low income families, first generation students and non-traditional students fund their college education. Carrie Wells for The Baltimore Sun quotes one higher education official as saying:

"We realize that in order to have the workforce that we need to meet the demands of our economy … we have to look beyond those students who have traditionally comprised our graduation cohorts,' said Maryland Higher Education Secretary Danette G. Howard.

Ideas for the plan include scholarships for college dropouts that only have a few classes left to finish to earn their degree, older adults, and funds for those who want to transfer from a four-year college to a two-year one for an associate's degree, writes Wells. It also aims its marketing plan at black and Latino students to help close the education gap with whites.

Coppin State University recently held a meeting of several high achieving students and state higher education officials to discuss problems in the state's higher education system. Of course, one problem to come up was funding, says Wells.

Coppin State University President Mortimer H. Neufville said it was critical for the state to center on access and cost concerns for the normally black university, reports Wells. The university has a large population of pupils from Baltimore local public schools and many who need remedial education. Wells quotes the president as saying:

"‘Our students, they are in the 27-28 age range. Many of them have to work, so if the state intends to provide resources for financial assistance for students who cannot afford college, I think that would be a tremendous help,' Neufville said."

According to Howard, only 60% of Maryland college students graduate, reports Tim Tooten for WBAL. She insists that this is not good enough. Many drop out due to lack of funds or aid. She wants students to be aware or grants and financial aid that many of them don't know that they are eligible for. Some students at the meeting said that they would not be going to college without the help of outside aid because they would not be able to afford it.

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