The loss of funding for the Maryland Community College Promise scholarship arrives at a difficult time for the state’s community colleges. The schools are contending with their own budget cuts and a decline in fall enrollment as the recession takes a heavy toll on the population they traditionally serve: students from low-income households.
“Our students are the people working at your restaurants, they’re the ones working at your stores. Those students are exponentially impacted by this crisis,” said DeRionne Pollard, president of Montgomery College, one of Maryland’s largest community colleges. “We know that enrollment is probably going to continue to contract because students won’t have the money to go to school.”
Maryland is one of 30 states that cover tuition at community colleges, part of a national movement to use higher education to strengthen the local economy. College Promise programs, as tuition-free initiatives are commonly known, have resonated with elected