Governor Larry Hogan Introduces Education Initiatives
Proposals Focus on Improving K-12 Education and Making College More Accessible and Affordable
ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Larry Hogan today announced a series of education-focused legislative proposals designed to provide greater opportunities for students in Maryland. The proposals are part of the administration’s long-standing goal to deliver greater balance in the quality of education across the state through innovative programs. The governor’s education agenda for the 2016 Legislative Session includes three programs that, when combined, will help deliver better K-12 education outcomes for thousands of students while also making post-secondary education more affordable for high school students and recent college graduates.
“Education is our number-one priority. We are on track to deliver $828 million in new K-12 education investments over the past two years, and $6.3 billion in local education aid in our most recent budget – the most in state history,” said Governor Hogan. “Maryland has great schools and world-class universities, but the gap between the good schools and the underachieving schools is among the worst, and making sure every student has the opportunity to succeed will take more than just money. Ideas like P-TECH schools, the Maryland Education Tax Credit, and the Maryland Early Graduation Scholarship, combined with existing programs like Bard High School Early College, can make a huge difference to students across the state.”
Included in the governor’s education package are the following proposals:
The Maryland Education Tax Credit
The Maryland Education Tax Credit legislation would provide a tax credit to private citizens, businesses, and nonprofits that make donations to public and non-public schools to support basic education needs such as books, supplies, technology, academic tutoring, tuition assistance, and special needs services. It is designed to increase the attractiveness and likelihood of donations to eligible public and non-public K-12 or pre-K programs in the state. Similar legislation has been passed in the Maryland State Senate in previous years and is a highly popular proposal among parents, students, nonprofits, and businesses across Maryland.
The credits will also be targeted to promote pre-K programs and enrollment. The credits are awarded through the Department of Commerce with the total level of credits phased in over three years to $15 million in fiscal year 2018.
The P-TECH (Pathways in Technology Early College High School) education model is an innovative, nationally recognized approach that blends high school, college, and work experience in one program. P-TECH schools offer students an integrated six-year education program that combines high school, college, and workplace skills required for 21st-century jobs. Graduates from Maryland’s P-TECH schools can earn a high school diploma and a two-year postsecondary degree in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) from an accredited community college.
The administration bill will authorize P-TECH schools in Maryland and create a system to finance them through grants to school districts. It also requires county boards of education to pay for dual enrollment costs for P-TECH students for certain grades and prohibits community colleges from charging a P-TECH student dual enrollment costs.
As part of the administration’s goal to help make college more affordable, Governor Hogan is proposing new legislation that would allow the Department of Housing and Community Development to create the Maryland SmartBuy mortgage product, a program that would allow graduates to finance student loans when undertaking a home mortgage. The program would be authorized through the Community Development Authority under the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development and, importantly, would not require any new state funds or create any additional debt burdens for the State of Maryland.
The Department of Housing and Community Development’s Maryland Mortgage Program currently provides significant support to homebuyers through Down Payment Assistance and Partner Match Programs, helping Marylanders who can afford the month-to-month costs of homeownership overcome upfront financial barriers. This new legislation would create another important economic opportunity for young people overburdened with significant loan debt.