BALTIMORE – If Gov. Parris N. Glendening has his way, parents will be able to prepay their child’s college tuition, B- average high school students will be guaranteed financial aid to attend college in-state, and some education expenses would be tax deductible.
Glendening shared some of his ideas to make higher education more accessible and affordable with a group of Johns Hopkins University students and administrators Thursday.
“I was the first to go to college on either side of my family,” the governor told about 75 students and administrators. “I didn’t come out of the best economic situation. But doors were open for me to go to college. I want those same doors to be open to others.”
The governor discussed the agenda he will push when the Legislature returns to Annapolis in January. Among his plans are:
* Providing financial aid for high school students who maintain a B average and want to attend an in-state institution.
* Allowing parents to prepay a child’s college tuition. A legislative proposal for such a program is being reviewed by a 12-member task force, which is to make recommendations next session.
* Allowing middle-income families to borrow a small amount of money from the state, interest free or at low interest, to cover tuition expenses.
* Capping tuition increases at public institutions.
* Increasing state funding for both universities and student financial aid.
* Changing the tax code to include some education-related deductions, credits or exemptions.
“The next step is to work with education and state leaders to fine tune these ideas and see how we can best fund them,” Glendening said. “We have to do something. Because the continuous rise in tuition is closing the door of opportunities for our youths.”
The governor’s appearance at Hopkins came only a day after the nonprofit College Board released a study showing that the cost of college across the U.S. is up an overall 5 percent this fall, continuing to outrace the nation’s inflation rate of about 3 percent.
Hopkins was one of many stops the governor has made this month in an effort to reemphasize his commitment to education, according to his staff. Later this week, he will visit the University of Maryland at Baltimore and the University of Maryland Baltimore County.
“He has been going around the state to colleges and universities and to elementary, middle and high schools because it gives him an opportunity to talk to people one on one about their concerns and interest about education,” said Ray Feldmann, deputy press secretary.
Although Glendening’s visit was to one of the nation’s most prestigious and expensive universities, he said his ideas are aimed at both private and public institutions.
The College Democrats arranged Glendening’s appearance at Hopkins.
“We know this governor believes in education,” said Elizabeth Chow, president of the 100-member organization. “But more importantly, we have a lot of students here who are on financial aid and are concerned about these very issues.”
According to Hopkins financial aid officials, it costs an undergraduate student about $30,000 a year to attend the school.
Ellen Frishberg, student financial services director, said about 60 percent of undergraduate students receive financial aid. Nearly 100 percent of graduate students receive some type of financial assistance.
“The programs [Glendening] talked about sound positive and something that will help families educate their children,” Frishberg said. “Higher education is an expensive venture so there are no easy solutions. But I’m happy to hear the governor is thinking about ways to help move Maryland closer to finding answers.” -30-