Gov. Hogan: It’s not far enough

Campus Current shares opinions on Maryland’s recent law for community college tuition

Editorial Board

Gov. Larry Hogan signed the Community College Promise Scholarship law in May to make community colleges in Maryland affordable for people in financial need. 

Campus Current supports a state law to make community college more affordable, but this one doesn’t go far enough.  

This scholarship is only for recent high school graduates. We believe it should be for everyone.  

We applaud the state government for becoming more involved with community colleges. But the government should offer this program, which offers $5,000 a year to cover tuition for some students, to everyone interested in attending a two-year school like AACC.  

If everyone who applies to AACC qualified for the Promise Scholarship, it would make college more accessible to a greater number of people.  

Then, more students would attend AACC and other community colleges. More students would earn degrees. More students would qualify for better jobs. 

Some say free college isn’t a good use of government resources. Others argue that students should have “some skin in the game”; that is, if they pitch in for at least part of their tuition, their education will be more valuable to them. 

But the Promise Scholarship isn’t commitment-free: A notable and beneficial aspect of the law is that it requires students who accept the state’s money to work in Maryland for one year for each year they use the scholarship. 

As AACC students, we know first-hand how valuable community colleges are.  

One of the college’s slogans, “Redefine yourself,” encapsulates what community college is for: working on bettering yourself to achieve your goals.  

Although the governor’s Promise Scholarship will help some students afford their education, some isn’t enough. The state should make community college free for everyone. 

Hogan is merely dancing around the idea of free college with this scholarship. He should be replicating the ideas of Bernie Sanders, who advocated for free, four-year college tuition for all.  

Google “Hogan community college” and more than 10 pages of articles appear. Most have misleading headlines. NBC even published an article with the headline “It’s Official: Maryland Community Colleges to Offer Free Tuition in 2019,” which is not true.  

The Promise Scholarship does not mean free tuition for everyone. First, it is a “last-dollar” scholarship, which means students must use any available financial aid before receiving money from the state. Also, those whose parents earn more than $150,000 are excluded. And only students who earned a high school diploma or GED within two years of applying for the scholarship can qualify for it. At community colleges, it is common to see students of all ages.  

The Promise Scholarship is a big step in the right direction, but Maryland should take a leap toward free tuition to community college.