College Readiness Bill Passes in Final Hours of Legislative Session

In the final hours of the legislative session, the Maryland General Assembly passed the College and Career Readiness and College Completion Act of 2013, an amended version of a bill which lays out several reforms of Maryland’s education system.  The aim of the bill is to prepare Maryland’s high school students for college, to require students to develop degree plans towards completion of undergraduate degrees, and to simplify the process for transferring credits between  Maryland universities and community colleges.

Under the leadership of Delegate Anne Kaiser of Montgomery County, the Education Subcommittee reviewed over five pages of amendments throughout Saturday and Monday, working with stakeholders including the Maryland Higher Education Commission, the Maryland State Department of Education, The Maryland Association of Community Colleges, the University of Maryland, the Public School Superintendents Association of Maryland, the Maryland Association of Boards of Education, and others.  MACo did not take a position on the bill, however we were invited to join the meetings and we attended them. Yesterday morning, members of the House Appropriations Education & Economic Development Subcommittee joined the meeting, too.

One element of the legislation is that Maryland’s public high schools begin to assess 11th grade students for college readiness, and offer appropriate transition courses to students who are not prepared for college at that point. In the amended version of the bill, the Maryland State Department of Education, and the county boards of education, will determine the types of transition courses required and how to implement them over the next few years.

Another part of the bill seeks to encourage high-performing high school students to dually-enroll in Maryland’s higher education institutions while in high school.  Rather than charging those dually-enrolled students tuition, this legislation requires the local boards of education to pay 75% of the college tuition of high school students enrolled in up to four courses at a community college or public university.*  The local school boards may then charge the dually-enrolled students 90% of the tuition paid, unless the students qualify for free and reduced price meals, in which case the fee will be waived.

For more information, see our previous post, Bill Promoting College Readiness Proceeds to House

*For community college enrollments, the county board must pay the lesser of 5% of the target per pupil foundation amount or 75% of the cost of the community college courses