Organizations across the state and nation, such as Educating Maryland Kids, CASA de Maryland, Amnesty International, and the ACLU, are stepping forward to support the dream for equal access to higher education for all Maryland students. The Maryland Dream Act is a step toward education equality, giving highly successful students the ability to go to college and further their careers with an affordable price tag. The law was passed in April 2011 by the state legislature and was signed into law on May 10, 2011 by Governor Martin O’Malley.
Now, Maryland constituents have the opportunity to share their opinion by voting on the MD Dream Act by referendum in the upcoming November 2012 election. Pledge here to support a dream that will allow hard working students to obtain in-state tuition at Maryland state universities.
According to the new law, in order for students to qualify for in-state tuition, they must attend three years at a Maryland high school, receive their high school diploma, and the student’s parents must file Maryland taxes both while in high school and through graduating college.
The law benefits not only U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs), but also undocumented immigrants. CASA de Maryland says that the MD Dream Act is “not an immigration reform bill but rather a bill to change the requirements for students to be eligible for in-state tuition, which builds stronger families, helps our economy, and improves school quality.”
Baltimore’s Mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has endorsed the bill, and is showing her support in a video on the Educating Maryland Kids website, and in an NPR interview. In addition, Governor Martin O’Malley recently expressed his support of Maryland’s Act, saying, “I call on Maryland residents [...] to support our own DREAM Act to give our children a chance to gain the skills and education they need to compete and win in the future.”
Many of the students who will qualify are those who came here when they were very young. They had no say in the decision to immigrate and are now unable to attend college to further their careers and dreams because it is too expensive to afford out-of-state tuition. Yet, they have lived in the state for a majority of their lives, achieved at some of the highest standards, learned English if they didn’t already speak it, paid taxes, and worked hard.
Equal access to higher education benefits both the individual and society. Students who attend college and earn degrees are able to attain high-income jobs and contribute to society by providing a beneficial tax base as well as a diversified workforce. Take the pledge today, to vote YES in November!
This post is intended to present an opportunity for citizen engagement and does not necessarily represent the mission of CPHA.