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O’Malley Restores Scholarships, Covers Ass

My latest Washington Examiner Local Opinion Zone post.

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley (D) has restored $1.1 million in funding for the Distinguished Scholar Program, which he had originally cut from his proposed budget.

The Baltimore Sun reported on its front page the story of 350 Maryland students who were informed they were not going to receive the $3,000 per year scholarship they earned to help pay their college tuition.

But the Maryland Higher Education Commission did not begin sending letters about the scholarship cuts until the end of last week. That meant students potentially made college decisions assuming that they could use the scholarship money to attend a Maryland university.

Ann-Marie Michocki said her daughter’s deadline to accept the University of Maryland’s offer was May 1, and they did not receive word of the scholarship’s cancellation until May 6. Deadlines for nearly all of the other scholarships Lindsay qualifies for have passed, Ann-Marie Michocki said.

A MarylandReporter.com blog post noted that the scholarship cut would provide added ammunition for supporters of a petition drive to put a recent law—the DREAM Act—granting illegal immigrants in-state tuition at state universities if they meet certain requirements, on the November 2012 ballot.

Apparently seeing the political peril of supporting in-state tuition for illegal immigrants or “New Americans” as he likes to call them while axing promised scholarships for citizens, O’Malley quickly reversed course. O’Malley ordered the Maryland Higher Education Commission to restore the scholarship awards to the recipients.

Restoring the scholarship will cost the state $1.1 million, while the DREAM Act could cost the state up to $3.5 million or more.

UPDATE

Upon further review it appears that Governor O’Malley’s explanation that the cuts for current recipients were an “error” doesn’t hold water. MHEC legislative Gareth Murray, quoted in the Baltimore Sun said, “The hope was that people would have a back-up plan,” indicating that the cuts were fully intended for this year’s scholarship recipients.






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