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BALTIMORE (April 14, 2011) — During his first bill signing ceremony following the 2011 legislative session, Governor O'Malley signed into law HB 1208, named the Higher Education — Exemption from Tuition for Foster Care Recipients — Eligibility Age bill.
Under the law, foster care recipients are eligible for a tuition and mandatory fee exemption to attend a public institution of higher education in Maryland if they resided in a foster care placement when they graduated from high school, or when they successfully completed a general equivalency development (GED) examination. The new law extends the age of eligibility from 21 to 25.
"This law provides a great opportunity for more of our foster youth to successfully make the transition from the foster care system to college and become successful adults," said Theodore Dallas, Interim Secretary at the Department of Human Resources. "Too often, kids in the foster care system must defer college for financial and other reasons and the law now gives them more time to get the education that is vital to their future."
The Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) reports that 81 foster children received tuition waivers in fiscal year 2009 and 94 received tuition waivers in fiscal year 2010. The waivers provided tuition at community colleges and public four-year institutions valued at $271,000 in fiscal 2009 and $223,000 in fiscal 2010.
The law, which will take effect on July 1, will provide foster children with a path to higher education and the tools to remove barriers to employment in a self-supporting career.
Source: Maryland Department of Human Resources