|Gov. Martin O’Malley|
| Maryland | Lawmakers in Maryland approved a hotly debated bill that allows undocumented immigrants to enroll in community colleges at in-state tuition rates if they can prove they attended state high schools for three years and their parents pay state taxes. Once they earn 60 credits in the two-year colleges, they may transfer to state universities at in-state tuition rates.
The legislature also approved a hike in the sales tax on alcoholic beverages, from 6 percent to 9 percent. That move is projected to raise $85 million per year, most of which will go toward school construction.
To address concerns about the viability of the state’s pension system, public employees, including teachers, will have to increase their contributions from 5 percent to 7 percent of their salaries. Those newly hired will be vested in the system after 10 years instead of the current five. Public employees will also have to pay higher monthly premiums for their health insurance.
The $14.7 billion budget approved for fiscal 2012 includes a $58 million increase for precollegiate education, bringing the total for that year to $5.75 billion.
A version of this article appeared in the April 27, 2011 edition of Education Week as College Help for Immigrants Passes