In a legislative session not noted for education achievements, the 1991 General Assembly quietly approved one measure that will dramatically transform the way the state hands out most of its scholarship money to college students. For the first time, the bulk of the money will be distributed according to financial need.
This means a large increase in the amount of aid given to low-income students. The very neediest students could receive almost full scholarships at a Maryland college. Other low- and moderate-income students will have a chance to receive up to $3,000 a year for college.
There are other innovative aspects, such as grants to part-timers (a boon to community college students), a loan forgiveness program for graduates who work in math- or science-related fields and an early-identification program. Under this last approach, students would be identified as potential scholarship recipients in the eighth grade, given college-preparatory courses and tutored in math and science. The state would guarantee them up to $3,000 a year in aid at any Maryland school.