$17.2 million. That’s how much money the Maryland Higher Education Commission let sit instead of handing it out in scholarships to 7,800 needy college students on a waiting list, according to an audit released yesterday.
The good news is that unspent money stays in the scholarship fund, so as soon as the MHEC gets its act together, the funds will end up where they belong, but that’s probably not much of a consolation to the waitlisted students who missed out this year.
Most MHEC grants are capped at $3,000. That may sound like a drop in the bucket when it comes to tuition, but Laura Perner, a University of Pennsylvania professor who researches college affordability, says “it could mean the difference between enrolling in college or not enrolling in college. It could mean the difference between enrolling in a four-year college versus a two-year college.”