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Higher Education in Maryland

January 2008 Press Release







ANNAPOLIS, MD (January 22, 2008)

Governor Martin O’Malley announced recently a proposal to increase by $150,000 in his budget to eliminate the waiting list for what he called the “popular” Veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq scholarship program.

Governor O’Malley praised the fine service of the men and women fighting in these conflicts and unveiled a slew of proposed budget initiatives to assist Maryland’s veterans and National Guard including the Afghanistan and Iraq scholarship program.

“I am very pleased that the Governor is committed and passionate about this scholarship program and is willing to give us the resources to expedite the process of awarding these scholarships,” Secretary of Higher Education James E. Lyons, Sr., said. “I have the utmost respect, and most of all, appreciation for the men and women who are courageously fighting in this conflict. No matter how Americans feel about these conflicts, there is no question we all support our troops. I am pleased we are doing so at the Maryland Higher Education Commission with this exceptional scholarship program.

MHEC launched this program designed to assist veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq Conflicts and their families who enroll in undergraduate programs at Maryland colleges and universities on February 7, 2007.

At the time, Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown praised the scholarship program saying, “We are proud of the men and women who serve in our Armed Forces and these scholarships provide assistance for the higher education that they and their families strive to achieve.”

Uniformed Service Members of the United States who served in Afghanistan on or after October 24, 2001 or in Iraq on or after March 19, 2003, may apply for the Veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq Conflicts Scholarship Program if they are:

  • A veteran or active duty member of the U.S. Armed Forces who served at least 60 days in the Afghanistan or Iraq Conflicts as defined above;

  • A member of a reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces or the Maryland National Guard who was activated as a result of the Afghanistan or Iraq Conflicts and served at least 60 days as defined above; or

  • A son, daughter or spouse of a veteran, active duty or reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces or the Maryland National Guard, as defined above.

Applicants must be Maryland residents, which includes active members of the U.S. Armed Forces, their spouses and their dependent children who are stationed in the State of Maryland or whose home of residency is Maryland, and be enrolled full-time (12 or more credits per semester) or part-time (6-11 credits per semester) as an undergraduate student at an eligible Maryland institution.

The award amount is equivalent to 50 percent of annual tuition and mandatory fees and room and board and may not exceed $9,026 per academic year. Eligible applicants who are veterans will be given priority over dependent children or spouses, and will be ranked for funding according to application completion date.

Applicants for the scholarship must submit an application, which is available on the MHEC website: www.mhec.state.md.us.  They must also provide all required documents to the Office of Student Financial Assistance by March 1, 2008 to be considered for awards beginning in September 2008. Applicants must also file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by March 1, 2008. Awards are subject to the availability of funds.

The Veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq Conflicts Scholarship was established after HB 3 – Veterans Advocacy and Education Act of 2006 -- passed unanimously in the House and Senate. House Bill 3 was sponsored by House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-District 30) and co-sponsored by then-Delegate and Majority Whip Anthony Brown (D-District 25) among a host of others. Rob Garagiola (D-District 15), Senate Chair of the Veterans Caucus, cross-filed the bill in the Senate.

The Maryland Higher Education Commission is a 12-member coordinating board responsible for establishing statewide policies for Maryland public and independent colleges and universities and private career schools. It serves as an advocate for more than 325,000 college students in Maryland, for the State and its needs, and for business and industry in Maryland.

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