This morning President Obama spoke in Buffalo, New York about the need to make college more affordable for more people across the country. Here in Maryland, the O’Malley administration has already made progress in keeping tuition costs low at colleges and universities across the state making Maryland a national leader in affordable college tuition.
Maryland is the only state to have frozen in-state tuition at state colleges and universities for four years in a row, keeping college costs low even in the midst of the recession. Tuition increases have been the lowest in the nation for over five years. By holding down the cost of college tuition since 2007, the University of Maryland System went from the 8th most expensive to the 27th in the country.
The number of Maryland students receiving degrees has climbed in recent years. There was a 22 percent increase in the number of Maryland students receiving Bachelor’s degrees from public colleges and universities between 2006 and 2012, and a 49 percent increase in Maryland students receiving Associate’s degrees from community colleges between 2006 and 2012. Keeping college costs low allows more Marylanders to attend and graduate from Maryland colleges and universities. With more Marylanders advancing from higher education institutions, more students are prepared to enter the workforce in Maryland.
The O’Malley administration’s Early College Innovation Fund, passed during this year’s legislative session, is designed to create partnerships that prepare high school students for higher education. The Maryland State Department of Education will distribute competitive grants to local school systems and higher education institutions that work together to design or expand early college programs in high schools. A priority of the fund is to promote and create early college programs in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) subjects. By giving high school students the opportunity to participate in early college programs, they will be better prepared and more competitive when they attend colleges and universities.
This year’s budget continues the O’Malley administration’s commitment to higher education. Over $5 billion is being invested in scholarships, financial aid, and academic programs. By keeping college affordable, Governor O’Malley is ensuring that more Marylanders can pursue a higher education and graduate without being weighed down by crippling student loan debt.
Governor O’Malley and Maryland’s Democratic leaders see the inherent value of a college education and are continuing to work to ensure that college is affordable for all Maryland students.
As Maryland’s economy continues to recover, policies put in place by Governor O’Malley have fostered an environment that encourages
business growth and job creation. Over the past 12 months, Maryland created 35,600 new jobs. Our dynamic private sector led that growth creating nearly 9 out of every 10 new jobs In fact, Maryland has recovered 99 percent of the jobs lost during the recession compared to a nationwide rate of 76 percent.
To further develop opportunities for Maryland businesses, Governor O’Malley has worked to expand Maryland’s economy into the global market, making Maryland home to over 300 international companies, which come together to employ 105,000 Marylanders.
It is clear that job creation and business growth is a top priority of the O’Malley administration but the Governor knows that there is more work to do. That is why Maryland invests more than any other state into human capital through job training and education. This has led to the Chamber of Commerce ranking MD third in the nation for the talent pipeline and number one in the nation in entrepreneurship and innovation for the second consecutive year.
Maryland businesses are continuing to expand, create jobs, and grow Maryland’s economy. While there is still more to do and more people to put back to work, the actions of the O’Malley administration to foster a pro-business environment have Maryland business poised for further growth and job creation.
As our nation’s economy recovers, Maryland continues to be a leader in job creation and growth. In fact, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce named Maryland as one of the Top Ten states for economic performance for the fourth consecutive year. This economic growth comes as a direct result of the work of the O’Malley administration. In the mid-Atlantic region, Maryland’s economy has significantly outpaced its neighbors. In 2012, Maryland created jobs almost 10 percent more quickly than Virginia and out-performed Delaware, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia in job growth.
Maryland’s success in job growth is reflected in the decreasing unemployment numbers. At the end of 2012, Maryland’s unemployment rate was 14% below the national average. In fact, Maryland has recovered 99 percent of the jobs lost in the recession, compared to the nationwide rate of 76 percent.
Though we still have work to do to create more jobs and get more people back to work, Maryland, led by Governor O’Malley, is making significant progress. Governor O’Malley is continuing to focus on economic growth and job creation through infrastructure investment, education, and attracting cutting edge, high-tech industries to Maryland.