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Higher Education in Maryland

July 2009 Press Release



For immediate release: July 1, 2009                                                          Media Contact: Christopher Falkenhagen

                                                                                                                           Communications: (410) 260-4511



MHEC Bills That Will Positively Alter Some Scholarship Programs Officially Become Law Today

ANNAPOLIS, MD (July 1, 2009) -  Four bills that directly affect the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC), three of which will make positive changes to some student financial aid programs, officially become law today. The Maryland Higher Education Commission’s Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA) is responsible for administering State scholarship and grant programs.

House Bill 937 (Chapter Act 937, 2009) requires State scholarship and grant money retained in the State budget at the end of a fiscal year to be used to make awards to students during subsequent fiscal years under the Edward T. Conroy Memorial Scholarship Program and the Veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraqi Conflicts Scholarship.. In this year’s budget, Governor O’Malley provided nearly $110 million to go towards scholarships and grants that will benefit more than 58,000 Maryland students attending State two-or four-year public and independent colleges and universities and private career schools.

House Bill 1396 (Chapter Act 459, 2009) expands eligibility for MHEC’s Part-Time Grant Program to include students who are dually enrolled in Maryland high schools and a postsecondary institution. It also clarifies that a dually enrolled student does not need to receive both high school and college credit from a course to be eligible for a Part Time Grant. HB 1396 also permanently reauthorizes and changes the Dual Enrollment Grant Program to the Early College Access Grant.

House Bill 1404 (Chapter Act 461, 2009) requires that children of certain State or local public safety employees who are killed in the line of duty be exempted from paying non-resident tuition at a public institution of higher education. The governing board of each institution (board of regents, board of trustees) of postsecondary schools, in consultation with MHEC, must adopt policies to implement this exemption.

Another non-scholarship related bill that MHEC requested during the 2009 General Assembly Session will also become law today. Senate Bill 66 (Chapter Number 354, 2009) establishes community colleges as independent employing institutions with respect to their employees’ eligibility for the Optional Retirement Program (ORP) and administration of supplemental retirement plans. It requires each institution to administer the participation, termination, and retirement of its employees with respect to ORP, and authorizes each institution – with the exception of Baltimore City Community College (BCCC) – to establish and administer its own supplemental retirement plans in accordance with federal tax law. The law also applies retroactively to supplemental retirement accounts authorized and contributions made, after December 31, 2008.

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 337,000 college students in Maryland, for the State and its needs, and for business and industry in Maryland.



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