Reporting Gigi Barnett
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — The skyrocketing cost of college has been on hold statewide for the last few years. And Governor O’Malley’s proposed budget will keep it that way.
As Gigi Barnett explains, hundreds of students in Annapolis rallied to back it.
Maryland university students haven’t seen an increase to in-state college tuition in the last four years. As a result, the state’s tuition rate beats out all other states hands down.
“You just can’t beat the in-state rate. There’s no point in taking a lot of student loans out and being in debt for the rest of your life,” said Jesse Kreisman, University of Maryland student.
That’s in part why Governor O’Malley decided to keep the tuition rate as low as possible. Since 2007, it’s risen by just 2 percent. And Thursday, state university students rallied and asked lawmakers to back O’Malley’s 2014 budget and keep the tuition locked in.
“My brother is going into college now and that’s going to be really hard for my parents to afford for both of us to go,” a student said.
O’Malley’s budget will give an extra $170 million to the state’s university system. But if his budget isn’t approved, colleges could see deep across the board spending cuts.
“There are some dark forces out there. They want to cut our budget. No!” said Brit Kirwan, University System Chancellor.
If that happens, students at Thursday’s rally fear they will have to dig deeper in their wallets to make up the difference.
“If we want better results, we’re going to have to make better choices. And one of those choices is to make college more affordable for more middle class kids,” O’Malley said.
If approved, the governor’s budget would also increase spending for college courses in science, technology, engineering and math.
O’Malley says he wants to boost the college graduation rate, so his budget also contains $11 million to increase financial aid and online courses.