Hope program expands state college scholarships

$12.8 million in budget allows added majors

goal $3,000 a year for B students

January 20, 2000|By Michael Hill | Michael Hill,SUN STAFF

In a step toward awarding every B student $3,000 a year for college, Gov. Parris Glendening's budget kicks off Maryland's Hope scholarship program, making grants available to those majoring in business management, public affairs and the health professions.

The Hope program, announced last year, will enlarge upon the current science and technology and teacher education scholarships that fund about 1,400 students -- Maryland residents who graduate from high school with a B average and maintain that grade level in college.

The $12.8 million in the proposed budget will fund grants for 4,700 students this fall by adding the new majors and by making those majoring in the biological and physical sciences and mathematics eligible for the science and technology program -- now limited to engineering and computer science.

The programs, modeled after a Georgia program, pay $3,000 a year for those attending a public or private four-year school in the state and $1,000 for community college students. Hope grants are limited to families with less than $83,000 in annual income.

Karen A. Price, director of the state scholarship administration, said officials plan a similar expansion to all majors in Maryland with a projected 12,500 students getting the awards in fiscal 2005 at a cost of $32 million. The awards would fall short of full tuition, she said.

For now, the program is expanding into areas identified as needed for economic development. Recipients of the scholarships will be required to work in Maryland one year for each year of grants. Those getting the science and teachers grants must work in those fields.

Price said that legislation has been submitted to lower the interest rate paid by those who fall below a B average in college or change to an ineligible major, and find their grant turned into a loan. The current rate is well above that for student loans.

In his State of the State speech, Glendening said he envisioned a day when there would be no tuition at state colleges, but there are no plans to move to make that a reality.

"That is a vision for the future," said Raquel Guillory, Glendening's deputy press secretary. "The idea behind the Hope scholarships is to build a foundation for one day making college accessible to everybody."

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