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Higher Education in Maryland

June 2008 Press Release



For immediate release: June 24, 2008
Contact: Christopher Falkenhagen
Communications: (410) 260-4511

MHEC hosts forum to discuss financing for college

(Annapolis, MD) June 24, 2008 – The Maryland Higher Education Commission hosted a well-attended public forum June 16 at Anne Arundel Community College to discuss financial aid opportunities at the federal and State levels.

One of MHEC’s chief responsibilities is administering nearly $110 million in grants and scholarships budgeted by the State to Maryland students attending public and independent two- and four-year colleges or universities or private career schools in Maryland.

Higher Education Secretary James E. Lyons, Sr., as well as MHEC Assistant Secretaries Andrea Mansfield and Dr. George Reid, who coordinated the forum, received praise from numerous experts in the college financing field for having the foresight to host the event, which was attended by more than 100 educators - college and university officials, and others - concerned about the future of financing students’ higher education dreams.

Secretary Lyons opened the forum stating that “one of the goals of the O’Malley-Brown Administration’s One Maryland initiative is an affordable college education. MHEC is committed to this vision.”

The forum helped soften rumors that the recent national “credit crunch,” mainly caused by issues in the mortgage and financial industries, will cause lenders to stop providing student loans. While some lenders have gotten out of the student loan business, the forum attendees were assured that financial aid will be available to students this fall and well into the future.

Mr. David Bergeron, Director of Policy and Budget Development, Office of Postsecondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education reported that Sallie Mae and Nelnet, two of the nation’s largest lenders, will provide student loans at reasonable rates.

A panel of financial aid officials from public, independent, private and for-profit career schools shared their concerns about the future of the student loan industry and asked MHEC to continue to work closely with them in regards to providing scholarships and grants. MHEC officials assured that their outstanding record of providing nearly 58,000 Maryland students with scholarships and grants would continue.

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 326,000 college students in Maryland, for the State and its needs, and for business and industry in Maryland.




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