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Higher Education in Maryland

May 2009 Press Release



For immediate release: May 7, 2009                                                           Media Contact: Christopher Falkenhagen

                                                                                                                            Communications: (410) 260-4511



Governor O'Malley signs key higher education bills into law


ANNAPOLIS, MD (May 7, 2009) – Governor O’Malley today signed into law nine broad-based bills of significance to higher education in Maryland. It was the Governor’s second bill signing ceremony this year. He was joined by Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr., and House Speaker Michael E. Busch.

“This was a good day for higher education in the State,” Secretary of Higher Education James E. Lyons, Sr., said after attending the bill signings. “Governor O’Malley has once again shown he is among the premier leaders in the country when it comes to postsecondary education. By signing these significant pieces of legislation into law, he has put families first by making college more accessible for students seeking a college degree.”

Earlier this year, Governor O’Malley succeeded in freezing in-state undergraduate resident tuition at the University System of Maryland and Morgan State University for the fourth consecutive year, a feat that President Obama recently pointed out in a national address was a model for other states to follow.

The higher education bills Governor O’Malley signed into law today include:

SB 66 – Supplemental Retirement Program – Employing Institutions – Community Colleges
Senate Bill 66 designates each community college as the employing institution for its employees who participate in the Optional Retirement Program and the Supplemental Retirement Program. The bill also clarifies that, with respect to the Supplemental Retirement Program, the community colleges may designate companies to provide supplemental retirement accounts to its employees.

HB 937 – Student Financial Assistance – Retention of Unused Funds
House Bill 937 requires specified 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.

HB 1396 – Student Financial Assistance - Dually Enrolled Students
House Bill 1396 achieves three objectives. 1) authorizes institutions of higher education to use funds allocated to them through the Part-Time Grant program to award students who are dually enrolled in secondary schools and institutions of higher education; 2) clarifies that a dually enrolled student does not need to receive credit for the course in both secondary school and the institution of higher education; and 3) reauthorizes the Dual Enrollment Grant Program that is due sunset on June 30, 2009.

HB 1403 – State Plan for Higher Education Quadrennial Review - Reporting Date
House Bill 1403 extends from July 1, 2008 to July 1, 2009 the filing date by which the Maryland Higher Education Commission must submit a quadrennial review of the State Plan to the Governor and General Assembly. The change was necessary because the filing date by which the Commission to Develop the Maryland Model for Funding Higher Education was required to submit a report to the Governor and General Assembly was extended to December 2008.

HB 1404 – Children of Fallen State or Local Public Safety Employees -Exemption from Nonresident Tuition
House Bill 1404 will require public higher education institutions in Maryland to charge in-state tuition and fees to the sons and daughters of fallen State or local public safety employees who may now live out of state, but are eligible for the Edward T. Conroy Memorial Scholarship Program.

HB 1435 – Enforcement Powers of Maryland Higher Education Commission and Secretary of Higher Education
House Bill 1435 strengthens enforcement by the Maryland Higher Education Commission against schools that are operating illegally in several regards. First, the bill authorizes the Secretary of Higher Education to issue cease and desist orders and notices of violation, to impose penalties, and to seek judicial relief against institutions of postsecondary education that are required to have a certificate of approval from MHEC, but do not. The bill sets out various factors that the Secretary of Higher Education must take into consideration before imposing penalties. Second, the bill authorizes the Secretary of Higher Education to order that tuition payments and fees be returned to students by an institution of postsecondary education that is required to have MHEC approval for a program, but does not. Finally, the bill authorizes MHEC to supplement by regulation statutory grounds for summary revocation or suspension of a certificate of approval for a private career school.

SB 372/HB 538 – Foster Care Tuition Exemption Expanded Eligibility
Senate Bill 372 and House Bill 538 alters the definition of “foster care recipient” to change to 13 years the age of eligibility of an adopted individual and to include younger siblings of an adopted individual if the younger sibling is adopted concurrently with the older sibling for purposes of determining eligibility for a specified tuition exemption.

SB 373 – Public Institutions of Higher Learning – Non-Resident Tuition Exemption
Senate Bill 373 exempts specified members of the National Guard from paying nonresident tuition at public institutions of higher education; and altering the attendance status for an individual who is exempt from paying nonresident tuition at public institutions of higher education.

HB 948 – Higher Education Part-Time Grant Program Eligibility Requirements
House Bill 948 changes the number of semester hours of courses in which a student must be enrolled in order to qualify as a part–time student for the Part–Time Grant Program from at least six to at least three semester hours but no more than 11 semester hours; and limiting the percentage of the part–time grant allocation that may be provided to students who are enrolled in at least three but less than six semester hours of courses each semester.

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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