By now, I am sure you have heard of Joe Biden's $500 billion giveaway of his student loan forgiveness plan. I believe it is wrong for this administration to transfer personal debt onto the taxpayers. This act is clearly a Biden Administration election-year gimmick that the courts will most likely strike down. However, it does highlight the problem of the cost of higher education.
Unfortunately, because of the high cost of higher education in our university systems, Marylanders carry more student debt than any other state in the nation.
One of the solutions to lower college costs is to introduce competition and options. Allowing regional community colleges to offer select bachelor's degree programs in select fields is an idea worth considering. This model has worked well in states like Florida and makes sense for taxpayers who have already invested a great deal of their tax money into the infrastructure of their local community colleges. In addition, students benefit since the community colleges of Maryland already offer classes at much more affordable tuition than the current in-state rates at universities.
To make this a reality, we must pass legislation allowing regional community colleges to be accredited.
Delegate Mark Fisher originally had this idea and drafted legislation to do this for CSM back in 2016. The bill had bipartisan support from every member of the Southern Maryland Delegation but failed. The idea was perhaps before its time, but now that student debt is at the forefront of the country's kitchen table discussion, I believe it is time we start the conversation. Delegate Fisher and I will bring a bill forward this year that will do just that.