Maryland Governor Larry Hogan recently proposed a bill centered around college tuition. The proposed bill allocates $17.5 million to prevent tuition in public colleges in Maryland from increasing at drastic rates. Hogan plans on setting the limit of increasing tuition cost at two percent. Several universities have wanted to raise tuition by as much as five percent, but typical increases have been between two and three percent over the past several years.
Hogan also proposed a student loan tax-deductible plan. Residents earning less than $200,000 a year individually or couples earning less than $250,000 combined wouldl be eligible to deduct student loan interest payments from income taxes. The plan would cost about $20 million.
“Student debt is one of the biggest problems facing America,” Hogan said in an interview with the Baltimore Sun. “It’s certainly affecting a lot of our young people…I hear about it everywhere I go.” In a speech at the University of Maryland, he said, “This financial burden is preventing many young Marylanders from achieving financial security.”
Hogan’s policy has garnered support from Maryland Democrats, who believe he is taking a step in the right direction. Richard Madaleno, a Maryland Democrat, believes that while Hogan’s proposal may not provide as many benefits as last year’s bill, it would be accessible to a wider part of the population.
Sophomore Grant Yang of Richard Montgomery High School showed strong support for the proposed plan. “I’m glad Hogan is doing something to help students manage college tuition,” he said. “Decreasing the cost of college is an important step in the right direction.”
Hogan’s plan is certainly not without repercussions. The proposed plan for cutting down increases in tuition makes it harder for the state to limit spending to their $500 million budget gap. Junior Justin Hung of Montgomery Blair High School believes that the extra state spending would be against the desires of the states. “If Hogan does not manage the budget, he may end up having to cut more essential resources for state taxpayers,” he said. “There is a clear controversy regarding whether the plan will be economically sound.”
Others also believe that while the two percent may seem to be an improvement, it is far from where they hope college spending will go. “In an ideal world, there would be no increase in college tuition at all,” senior Matt Nguyen from Richard Montgomery High School said. “There would even be options to better help students pay for college.” Nguyen is not alone in his belief, as many other students envision a future where college prices would not only stay below a certain limit, but would also be reduced in order to meet the demands of students.
There are also mixed reactions to the student loan tax-deductible plan. “I certainly hope that the $200,000 a year requirement will be beneficial to most colleges,” US History teacher Peter Beach at Richard Montgomery High School said. “It’s not the first time I’ve heard this sort of proposal come up in Maryland. If conducted properly, it could curb financial debt problems of Marylanders for years to come.”
On the other hand, some students believe that the money being put in won’t result in a worthwhile benefit. “20 million dollars is a lot of money, and I don’t know if Hogan has really looked at the possible repercussions of this proposal,” junior Joe Camobreco from Magruder High School said.
The bill is expected to draw bipartisan support, especially from the Democratic majorities in both chambers. But regardless of whether it passes or not, increasing college tuition costs and inability to pay back student debt have become pressing issues in today’s world and discussion is sure to continue.
Article by MoCo Student staff writer Bhavesh Kemburu of Richard Montgomery High School