Members of the Maryland State Senate continue to engage in scandalous behavior with each of the 47 members doling out $108,000 in scholarship funds every year to hundreds of college-bound students. It is a lush patronage program that rewards the senators far more than it rewards the students.
A study by Common Cause/Maryland, released yesterday, shows that in just a two-year period, senators handed out over 1,200 scholarships to students with no financial need. Their parents had incomes in excess of $50,000. Moreover, the awards were so modest that few students received major assistance from the senators: the average senatorial scholarship award was only $286 per semester.
While such meager awards are of questionable benefit to students whose parents make a decent living, senators benefit enormously from these partial grants. The more students who receive senatorial scholarships, the more grateful parents, grandparents and relatives there are in a district. That's important at election time for incumbents.