Legislators Try to Attack College Affordability

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Grappling with the issue of affordability in higher education, lawmakers are taking suggestions and drafting legislation to ease the financial burden Maryland college students face.

Members of the Senate Education, Business and Administration Subcommittee and the House Education and Economic Development Subcommittee  heard Monday from administrators from institutions across the state as well as representatives from the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC).

MHEC officials said they hope to alleviate costs and increase retention and graduation rates. A key mission involves catering to low-income students by teaching them about available federal aid.

In fiscal 2012, MHEC estimated that among the state’s two-year institutions, only 54% of students submitted the Free Application for Federal Student Aid — commonly known as FAFSA.  This number was only slightly higher – 61% — for students at four-year colleges and universities.

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