Governor Holds BSU Roundtable
O'Malley Meets with Students
By Inger McPhail
The summer break may be a little happier for some BSU students with promises from Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) that there will be no tuition hikes in the Maryland University System.
O'Malley made the announcement during a roundtable discussion March 9 with Bowie State University students, elected officials Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D) and Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D), and Prince George's County Executive Jack Johnson (D) as well as University of Maryland System Chancellor Dr. William Kirwan. The dialogue between the elected officials and BSU students about higher education issues was moderated by Bowie State University President Dr. Mickey L. Burnim, and focused on tuition and textbook costs and federal legislation to make higher education more affordable for students. Funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and higher education has been earmarked in the federal budget.
Mikulski's charge to do some problem solving as it relates to the financial challenges of low-income students was well received by her congressional peers. "I know Governor O'Malley and I and the Congressional delegation believe the best ideas come from the people," she said.
Federal stimulus money may help make that happen by holding tuition rates steady. The governor shared with BSU students that Maryland has been the only state in the country to maintain a tuition freeze for the last two years - a statement that drew the governor a high-five from Mikulski.
"We would have been going back to cut many things out of the budget and one of the things that would have been very much threatened...would have been that tuition freeze," O'Malley said.
Maryland will also be able to increase state aid to community colleges and raise the cap on low-income federal education grants.
Bowie State student Lakisha Walker, a sophomore majoring in pedology, said "I am honored to have this opportunity to talk with important state and national leaders who are working on our behalf to make college more affordable. With support from the state and Congress, students like me will be able to get through college with less debt and focus on starting our careers and contributing to our communities."
Other students who participated in the discussion were Chrishana Heath, a business administration major; Kelechi Anyanwu, a graduate student and president of the Graduate Student Association, majoring in counseling psychology; Leslie Hall, a sophomore majoring in secondary education; Tamisha Jackson, a senior communications major and president of the Student Government Association; Carolyn Mills, a senior majoring in history and government; Maurice Robinson, a sophomore majoring in history; Nayonna Wright, a junior majoring in history and government and Yolanda Lindo, a junior majoring in nursing.