Governor Larry Hogan today signed HB 16 – Near Completers and Maryland Community College Promise Scholarships, which allocates $15 million per year in need-based tuition aid for eligible community college students. Senate President Mike Miller and Speaker of the House Michael Busch joined Governor Hogan to sign the landmark legislation. The Governor and Presiding Officers were joined by the bill’s lead sponsor, Delegate Frank S. Turner, presidents of several Maryland community colleges, and staff from the Maryland Association of Community Colleges (MACC).
According to a press release:
“This is a win – win for our students and our state,” said Dr. Bernie Sadusky, MACC executive director. “It’s a win for our students, most of whom are low-income, work, and have family responsibilities. And it’s a win for Maryland because a more educated workforce is the engine of economic growth.”
By 2020, 69% of Maryland jobs will require a postsecondary education according to the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce, while about 40% of Maryland’s high school graduates don’t enroll in any postsecondary education within one year of graduation. Meanwhile, Maryland employers in high-demand fields contend with unfilled positions and insufficiently skilled applicants.
The program, which begins academic year 2019 – 2020, requires students access all other eligible financial aid before Maryland’s College Promise scholarship funds, up to $5,000 per year, are awarded. Recipients must work in Maryland one year for each year of scholarship awarded, or the scholarships convert to loans and must be repaid.
Other requirements include full-time enrollment in a community college for a vocational certificate, a credit certificate, or an associate degree, within two years of graduating high school or completing a GED; high school GPA of 2.3 or higher; and an annual adjusted gross income of not more than $100,000 if the applicant is single or resides in a single-parent household, or $150,000 if applicant is married or resides in a two-parent household.
The bill also provides $2 million over five years to students who are close to finishing degrees at community colleges and four-year institutions. Near-completer students are eligible to receive up to one-third of their tuition dues.
Read the full press release for more information.