www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/readersrespond/bs-ed-state-budget-20120503,0,4786472.story

baltimoresun.com

Legislature's failure to act could make college unaffordable for thousands of middle- and low-income students

12:45 PM EDT, May 3, 2012

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Much of the coverage of the need for a special budget session of the Maryland legislature has focused on the political machinations of its leaders. That's understandable. But we should not ignore the impact on ordinary people if the legislature fails to finalize a budget. Major victims will be thousands of middle-income college students from every community in Maryland.

The budget package proposed by Gov.Martin O'Malleyand endorsed by both houses of the legislature caps tuition hikes at 3 percent for this fall at all the public four-year campuses.

If the budget package is not finalized soon, students from University of Maryland College Park to Morgan State University, Frostburg State to Towson and all nine of Maryland's other public colleges will face big tuition hikes this fall of probably 10 percent or more. I know from the five years I served on the board of the University System of Maryland that big tuition hikes will force thousands of middle- and low-income students out of college.

That is unacceptable. It's time for the legislature to come back into session, finalize the state budget and keep college affordable for hardworking Maryland students.

Jim Rosapepe, Annapolis

The writer, Democrat, represents College Park in the Maryland Senate.