Four Year Degrees
College should not be a privilege for only the wealthy or those willing to go hundreds of thousands of dollars into debt.
Maryland students who are able to maintain an A- average or above and are from a low-income or middle class families, throughout high school, should be able to attend a four year university without having to worry about the cost. They should not be deterred from applying to the college of their choice because they fear not being able to afford it. That is why these students should have college completely paid for. The cost of tuition, room and board, and text books would be offset, after school sponsored scholarships are awarded. These students would be required to apply for a certain number of privately funded scholarships prior to their tuition being paid off in order to keep cost as low as possible.
This program would be partially funded by charging foreign visitors to visit the most popular Smithsonian museums and zoo as well as by tax money generated from legalizing the sale of marijuana.
All students with grade point averages below an A- would have the opportunity to have their federal loans converted into grants after they perform a certain number of community service hours with pre-approved non-profit or charitable organizations. At least one of the approved programs would be a mentoring program that would pair college students with high school students in low-income areas. This program would expose at risk students to new and diverse areas of employment and encourage them to work towards a goal that they may not have previously believed was a possibility.
While Maryland has some of the best schools in the country, Anne Arundel and Prince George's County schools were ranked at 10th and 23rd out of 24 in the state in 2016. Our children deserve top notch educations and the quality of that education shouldn't have a direct correlation to their parents income. When states are struggling to provide their students with appropriate class sizes, technology, text books, teacher supplies, infrastructure quality, and after school programs the federal government needs to help out. Our nation suffers when grade schools fail children. Each one of our children has the potential to be an award winning scientist, the doctor that discovers the cure to cancer, or the architect that designs the next great structure so we need to provide students with proper educational opportunities in grade school, so that they can live up to their potential. Part of assisting students to meet their potential includes insuring that they all have access to pre-K schooling starting at the age of 3, allowing them to begin their educational careers in the same position as their wealthy counterparts.