Maryland provides some of the most economical college options in the country, but a series of policy changes dialing back financial support for the neediest students is endangering the ability of many families to afford higher education in the state, according to a new study.
The study, a collaboration between the Higher Education Policy Institute, Vanderbilt University and the University of Pennsylvania, examined how dwindling state investment in higher education and the subsequent rise in tuition has pushed college out of reach for low-income and middle-income families across the country. Researchers found that despite the economic recovery, college is far less affordable than it was before the 2008 recession.
The state grants and scholarships that made it possible for the neediest students to obtain a degree have dried up, just as the families of those students contend with stagnant wages that make it difficult to cover costs.
“No state will be able to really meet their projected workforce needs unless they educate these low-income students. That realization just hasn’t hit yet,” said Joni Finney, director of the Institute for Research on Higher Education at the University of Pennsylvania and a co-author of the study.