Counties to State: Make Maryland’s Community Colleges Whole on Tuition Waivers

On February 7, 2023, Associate Policy Director Brianna January testified before the House Appropriations Committee in support of HB 0390 – Community College Tuition and Residency Waivers – Funding.

If signed into law, HB 0390 addresses what is in effect a currently unfunded mandate—community colleges are obligated by the State to reduce or even waive tuition for qualifying in-state applicants, which results in a loss of revenue and the cutting of programmatic and operational budgets. Often, this loss of tuition income falls on other community college students and the county governments that support community colleges. This bill requires an annual appropriation in the State budget for the Maryland Higher Education Commission of $10,000,000 from fiscal years 2025 through 2027.

Not only would HB 0390 ameliorate the revenue losses community colleges face under current practice, but it would also be a strong demonstration of the State’s commitment to an equitable distribution of support for community colleges.

From the MACo Testimony:

Counties are proud to support community colleges as they serve as a critical piece of Maryland’s higher education infrastructure. However, current law requires community colleges to charge lower in-state tuition – or to fully waive tuition – for students that the State has mandated as eligible for such tuition waivers, without any State funding to support the loss of revenue community colleges are experiencing because of this unfunded mandate… Counties have long sought a solution to this issue and HB 390 would be a good step in the right direction.

The bill’s cross-file, SB 0359, will be heard in the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee on February 15.

More on MACo’s Advocacy:

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2023 legislative session on MACo’s Legislative Tracking Database

Learn more about MACo’s 2023 Legislative Initiatives

Read more General Assembly News on MACo’s Conduit Street blog