Thank you all for joining us. As the father of a 17-year old and a 16-year old, this is an issue near and dear to my heart. In fact, as I awake each morning, I say a prayer that my daughters will choose to go to college in-state.
Thank you President Hrabowski and congratulations on the tremendous work you are doing at UMBC. Chairman Kendall, thank you for your leadership. And, thank you Britt Kirwan … your effort, your passion, your dedication is so important to what we’ve been trying to accomplish these past 15 months.
Our higher-ed community truly embodies the notion that, as Dr. King taught us, the essence of education is “intelligence plus character.” What a blessing it is for our State to have so many individuals of high intelligence and high character working here in higher learning.
Higher Ed & Our Workforce
A group of us from our Administration returned on Monday from a trade mission to Israel, where we met with Israeli CEOs and business leaders to discuss ways to strengthen the ties between Maryland’s and Israel’s bioscience industries.
During an event we had with the Israel America Chamber of Commerce, I had the opportunity to speak with Benjamin Netanyahu, the former Israeli Prime Minister …
During our discussion, we talked about how bioscience and other sectors of the creative economy can be leveraged to expand opportunity to more people, rather than fewer.
You know, if we look at the resources we have in our One Maryland — at our science-related employment levels, our institutions of higher learning and discovery, our world class workforce, our federal facilities … it’s really true that there are very few places like Maryland in our country, or for that matter, anywhere in the world.
And, of all the assets that position our State for leadership in the new global economy, the most important is the talent, the ingenuity, and the creativity of our people.
- We have what Forbes magazine ranks as the 3rd most highly skilled workforce in the nation …
- It’s not just a happy coincidence. We’re also ranked by Education Week as having one of the top three public school systems in the country.
- In addition, we are home to the highest percentage of professional and technical workers nationwide.
- And, we have the highest percentage of doctorial scientists and engineers of any State in America
As we continue to grow our workforce, there is no better investment in Maryland’s future prosperity than higher education:
- That’s why, together we’ve created a P through 20 Council to align our K through 12 curricula with the needs of our institutions of higher learning.
- That’s why, together, we’re investing in our community colleges – and why we’ve increased funding by 41% (39% operational, 47% capital) in our first two years, versus what our predecessors spent in theirs.
- That’s why together, we’re investing $2.7 billion in our four year public colleges and universities, an increase of more than half a billion dollars ($585 million) versus what the previous administration allocated in their first two years.
- That’s why, working together, we created the Higher Education Investment Fund, establishing for the first time, a dedicated stream of funding for higher learning.
And, that’s why we’re working together to make a college education more accessible to Maryland families.
Because we’ve been willing to come together as One Maryland and protect our priorities, today we are able to announce that – for the third year in a row – there will be no increase in tuition at our State colleges and universities. Not a penny. Zero.
In these difficult economic times, the decisions we make on tuition can mean the difference between whether students and their families are able to afford a college education, or whether these dreams will fade out of reach.
This decision will open the doors of educational opportunity to more Marylanders, and it will help secure the strength of our workforce as we look toward tomorrow.
How We Got Here
During that statewide conversation we hold every four years known as a campaign, Lt. Governor Brown and I offered the people of Maryland a 10-point plan for returning our State to progress. Point four was that “we will fight to make college education more affordable for all Marylanders, so we can expand opportunity and build a more just society.”
We all remember the challenges we were faced with at the time:
- In-state tuition had risen 40%, and efforts to provide relief to Maryland families were met with a veto pen.
- We were told that an $800 increase in tuition at College Park was really no big deal at all, since our in-state tuitions – despite being among the highest in the land – were such a great value.
- We had earned an “F” rating in a national survey of college affordability, and we watched our tuitions rise to be the 6th highest in the nation.
- And while tuitions rose, we faced cuts in higher education funding … leaving our State college and university campuses in dire need of repair.
So that’s where we started.
We’ve come a long way over these past fifteen months. Working together, we’ve made real and steady progress because we’ve had the courage to come together as One Maryland and protect our priorities.
As a result, today our tuitions have fallen from the 6th most expensive to the 16th, and the doors of educational opportunity are opening for more Marylanders.
Our vision is to expand educational opportunity to Marylanders of every age, and from all walks of life – from those at the dawn of life, to those who seek to continue their learning later in life.
We’re making record investments, for example, in K-12 education. After a judge had to force our predecessors to invest in Maryland schools, we’re putting in an historic $5.3 billion, including $741 million for school construction.
And, together, we’re investing in adult literacy programs, increasing funding by nearly 400%.
We will continue to make progress in the days ahead, because we continue to come together as One Maryland to protect our shared priorities.
Thank you. Next I’d like to bring to the podium Clifford Kendall…