Brown unveils plan for college loans to Dream Act students -- Gazette.Net


Under a proposal by Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, Maryland would provide college loans to students who are attending school under the Maryland Dream Act.

The Dream Act, which was approved by the legislature in 2011 and affirmed by voters in a 2012 referendum, provides in-state tuition to state schools for undocumented students who graduate from Maryland high schools.

Now, Brown (D) and running mate Kenneth S. Ulman (D) are proposing a plan that would make student loans available to Dream Act students at rates similar to federal student loans.

Undocumented residents are not currently eligible for federal student loans.

Brown introduced the plan Thursday at an event in Silver Spring.

“We all know the benefits of higher education,” Brown said in a video of the event provided by his campaign. “That is the greatest, sturdiest ladder for opportunity in this country.”

The plan would make students eligible under the same requirements of the Dream Act: graduation from a high school in Maryland, providing three years of family income tax filings and two years of attending a community college before transferring to a four-year school.

According to the plan, $800,000 would be provided in funding in fiscal 2016, of which $200,000 would go toward administrative costs.

The funding would increase to $1.42 million in fiscal 2017, $2.65 million in fiscal 2018 and $4.27 million in fiscal 2019.

Administrative costs would increase by $25,000 each year, finishing at $275,000 in fiscal 2019.

The plan calls for the fund to be financed from loan repayments, and to continue until comprehensive federal immigration reform is passed.

In a release from the Brown-Ulman campaign, Montgomery County Councilwoman Nancy Navarro (D-Dist. 4) of Silver Spring said Brown’s proposal would go a long way toward making sure every Maryland student has access to an affordable college education.

Navarro has endorsed Brown for governor and attended Thursday’s event.

Steven Hershkowitz, a spokesman for gubernatorial candidate Del. Heather R. Mizeur (D-Dist. 20) of Takoma Park, said in an email Tuesday that Mizeur wants to ensure students have a way to pay for college.

“Heather was proud to co-sponsor the Dream Act when it passed in the General Assembly in 2011, and to work on its passage at the ballot box in 2012,” Hershkowitz wrote. “Maryland should be welcoming to all people looking for an opportunity to live out their dreams. She remains committee to making sure everyone has a fair chance to gain a high-quality education and find a sustainable career.”

A spokesman for Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler declined to comment on the plan Thursday because the campaign hadn’t had a chance to review it.