Press Release

May 4, 2017
Team Maryland Works to Expand Affordable College Education Opportunities for Maryland Families

WASHINGTON – Members of Maryland’s congressional delegation gathered Wednesday to hear from leaders in Maryland’s higher education community on how to best serve Maryland colleges and the students they educate. Members held an in-depth discussion with University System of Maryland Chancellor Dr. Robert Caret, McDaniel College President and Chair of the Maryland Independent Colleges and University Association (MICUA) Board of Trustees Dr. Roger Casey, Morgan State University President Dr. David Wilson, and Chesapeake College President and Vice-President of the Maryland Association of Community Colleges (MACC) Executive Committee Dr. Barbara Viniar.

“Maryland families know and understand the value of a higher education, yet for far too many, families are being forced to undertake significant debt in order to place their foothold in the middle class. Our state’s colleges and universities understand this challenge faced by Marylanders and shared their vision on how to build on efforts to provide students with an affordable higher education said Senator Ben Cardin. “As a delegation, Team Maryland is committed to working with our state’s leaders in higher education to provide quality, affordable educational opportunities for Maryland families.”

“Working to ensure higher education is affordable for Maryland students continues to be a top priority for the Maryland Delegation,” said Congressman Steny H. Hoyer. “I remain hopeful that Congress can work together in a bipartisan manner, similar to the bipartisan reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, in a way that improves both access and affordability for our students.  As a member of the Board of Trustees at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, and as a former Regent of the University System of Maryland, I will continue to work with my colleagues to invest in education for all students in our state.”

“I was happy to meet with higher education leaders today to talk about moving forward on issues affecting students in Maryland,” said Senator Chris Van Hollen. “As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I will work tirelessly to protect the support for higher education we secured in the FY17 spending bill we’re voting on this week, and to fight the many harmful education cuts proposed in President Trump’s FY18 budget. Every child who has the desire and willingness to go to college and work hard should have the opportunity for success – without worrying about the cost. We need to tackle the issue not only of college affordability, but of the crushing debt that many students graduate with. I look forward to working with the entire Congressional Delegation and Maryland’s higher education leaders to tackle these and many other issues.”

“Maryland is home to some of the world’s best colleges and universities – the challenge now is to ensure they are affordable and accessible to Maryland students,” said Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger. “College students now owe more than $1.4 trillion in education loans, second only to home mortgages, in terms of consumer debt. I stand ready to support all efforts to ease student debt so that we can continue providing a pipeline of workers ready to hit the ground running and secure a job right out of college.”

“Today’s productive conversation with leaders from Maryland’s higher education community was a step forward in our collective effort to make college more accessible and affordable for students,” said Congressman John Sarbanes. “It’s important for every stakeholder in this field to work together to reduce the economic and social barriers to higher education.”

“In today’s high-skill, high-tech global economy, education has never been more important. I know that education changed my life and I want every Marylander to have the same opportunity. I thank Senator Cardin and Whip Hoyer for convening this meeting with state leaders and continuing the dialogue on how we can improve access and opportunity,” said Congressman John K. Delaney.

“Every person, no matter where they live or where their family is from, deserves a world-class education. By investing in our classrooms and keeping college affordable, we can close the achievement gap and equip our students with the skills needed to compete in a 21st century global economy. But as the cost of attaining a post-secondary degree continues to rise, we must do more to ensure a quality higher education does not slip out of reach for working families,” said Congressman Anthony Brown. “I’m committed to expanding and increasing Pell Grant funding, lowering student loan interest rates, improving access to community colleges, and expanding loan forgiveness programs. But I also challenge college and university leaders to prioritize affordability, use tuition dollars efficiently and provide the best value to students.”

“Maryland has a powerful interest in investing in higher education, which is key to American prosperity, social mobility and a thriving democratic society,” said Congressman Jamie Raskin. “We are determined to do whatever we can to make sure that no one pulls the plug on our young people and limits their ability to contribute all of their gifts and talents.”