Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Open forum: Maryland Higher Education Commission offers variety of financial help to students

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As proud graduates throughout Maryland bid farewell to their classmates and embark on the next chapter of their lives, our state colleges and universities anxiously await the next generation of students.

It is our goal at the Higher Education Commission and throughout the O’Malley-Brown administration to open the doors of educational opportunity to more Marylanders. After seeing college tuition increase 42 percent during the previous administration, we’ve held the line on tuition with no increase for three years in a row. For parents and students who are concerned about the affordability and accessibility of higher education, there is good news: help is available.

One of the Maryland Higher Education Commission’s major responsibilities is administering nearly $110 million in scholarships and grants to students seeking degrees in higher education. These financial assistance programs are diverse, including need-based, legislative-based, merit-based, career-based and unique population-based scholarships.

To determine a grant or scholarship for which students may be qualified, they can access our Web site: www.MDgo4it.org and click on the Student Financial Assistance link. Students can search for scholarships or grants, and download the applications. MHEC administers 22 scholarship and grant programs.

James E. Lyons Sr., Annapolis

The writer is secretary of the Maryland Higher Education Commission.