Coppin State to Waive Tuition for Local High School Grads Who Earn Their Associate’s Degree

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Coppin State University’s Physical Education Complex. Photo via Visit Baltimore.

Coppin State University is piggybacking off of Mayor Catherine Pugh’s plan to send more city youth to college at no cost.

Yesterday, a week after the mayor announced the city would begin offering two free years of community college to graduating seniors starting in 2018, Coppin State University administrators revealed a plan for those students to earn their bachelor’s degree at no additional cost. Starting next year, the historically black West Baltimore university will waive two years’ worth of tuition for city public high school graduates who first earn an associate’s degree from Baltimore City Community College.

“We are all inspired by Mayor Pugh’s proposal to provide free community college for all Baltimore public high school graduates,” said Coppin State University president Dr. Maria Thompson in a statement. She added that extending the offer for two more years of school “will create a win-win situation for Coppin, for BCCC and for Baltimore City Public School graduates.”

Pugh announced her free community college initiative as a piece of her much-awaited anti-violence plan for Baltimore, describing it as “an investment in our young people.” Beyond waving attendance costs, she said the program will also involve tracking seniors getting ready to graduate in order to see what their post-high school plans are.

The free community college plan will cost roughly $1.5 million to support up to 1,000 students when it begins in 2018, Pugh said. A full year of in-state tuition at Coppin State for the 2017-18 academic year costs approximately $7,500 per student, according to the university comptroller’s office.

The mayor expressed her appreciation in a release issued by the university. “I thank Coppin for responding in such a positive way to the proposal. This unique partnership between the city, BCCC and Coppin State University will ensure that more of our young people have the educational opportunity they need to succeed,” she said in a statement.

Coppin’s free tuition program will add to an existing list in Baltimore. Johns Hopkins and Morgan State University also give out free rides to qualifying city high school grads. Pugh said at a press conference last week that Hopkins offers such scholarships to about 20 students each year, while Morgan does the same for 35 to 50 students.

Coppin will bring a convenience factor to the table that other nearby colleges don’t: the university, bordered by Gwynns Falls Parkway and North Avenue, sits merely four blocks away from the BCCC campus on Liberty Heights Avenue.

Ethan McLeod
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