New State Higher-Education Plan Addresses Changing Demographics of Students

Carrie Wells, The Baltimore Sun, April 9, 2014

The body overseeing higher education in Maryland unveiled a new four-year plan Wednesday intended to help serve the low-income, first-generation and nontraditional students that make up a growing segment of the academic population.

The Maryland Higher Education Commission’s plan is also meant to push the state toward Gov. Martin O’Malley’s goal of increasing the proportion of college-educated Marylanders to 55 percent by 2025.

“We realize that in order to have the workforce that we need to meet the demands of our economy . . . we have to look beyond those students who have traditionally comprised our graduation cohorts,” said Maryland Higher Education Secretary Danette G. Howard.

{snip} It also calls for the creation of transitional courses for 12th-graders who aren’t ready for college.

Other proposals include a marketing campaign targeting older adults, new scholarships for people who dropped out of college with only a handful of classes left to finish, and a “reverse credit” that students could transfer from a four-year institution to a community college and obtain an associate’s degree.

The plan calls for institutions to adopt “philosophical shifts” in what they believe a college student should be.

The commission focused on gaps in academic achievement, both between white and minority students and between wealthy and low-income students. The report warned that the state will fall short of its goals if those gaps are not narrowed, as more low-income, black and Latino people are expected to enroll in college.

The MHEC unveiled the new report at the campus of Coppin State University, where a group of about a dozen high-achieving students gathered with higher education officials to discuss the challenges and opportunities that come with college education.

Coppin President Mortimer H. Neufville called the state’s focus on access and affordability “critical” for the historically black university, which has a large share of students from Baltimore public schools and those who need remedial education.

“Our students, they are in the 27-28 age range. Many of them have to work, so if the state intends to provide resources for financial assistance for students who cannot afford college, I think that would be a tremendous help,” Neufville said.


When the goal to have 55 percent of adult Marylanders hold a degree was announced in 2009, the rate was about 44.4 percent. That figure rose to 45.4 percent in 2012 and Howard said it is now about 48 percent, which she said was ahead of schedule for the long-term goal.


The state’s plan also calls for a greater focus on data collection to improve the way educational outcomes are tracked, studies into how financial aid is awarded through grant programs and the possibility of changing the definition of a full-time student so students are not left out of aid programs.

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  • David Ashton

    The melting pot melts.

    • dukem1

      Public policy based on “The Wizard of Oz.”
      The Scarecrow “If I only had a brain.”
      Here’s your diploma, now you have a brain.

  • The only way to do it is to make college easy enough for even Piltdown Man to pass.

    • Oil Can Harry

      Forget college. I’d be happy if 55% of Baltimore’s blacks could read the high school diplomas that are handed out to them like candy on Halloween.

      • dcc2379

        If it was written on hemp paper, your plans would go up in smoke.

      • Fathercoughlin

        Why? What good does it do for these savages to be “literate”? They gonna expand their mind thru literature? Learn new skills to work and create value? Ahhhhh ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ….

  • The Final Solution

    “The plan calls for institutions to adopt “philosophical shifts” in what they believe a college student should be.” The only thing a college student needs to be is smart enough to do the work.

    • APaige

      You are right. But the idea of reverse credit is not that bad. It makes me believe that four year colleges should award associate degrees and some could leave and work or return and get a bachelors degree. Let community colleges focus on needed technical training.

  • KevinPhillipsBong

    The “philosophical shift” is in the ability to see lower standards as higher education.

  • Luca

    They make it sound so altruistic, as if this lofty goal of educating everyone will somehow elevate society. It is just a scam from the teacher’s Union and the Academic mafia, to enroll as many bodies as possible for increased funding, student loans and more union dues.

    After these dregs drop out, they will go right back to being the deadbeat statistics they were destined to be.

    • dukem1

      I’d say that we are at the point, today, that a college degree, aside from a STEM degree from a well-known school, signifies absolutely nothing.
      The business outlined in the article, with a four year running start (four year plan – where have I heard something like that before) will do nothing at all to progress civilization one inch forward…It is nothing but a massive scheme to somehow make someone feel as though they have accomplished something when they have accomplished nothing.

      And how can any civic official say with a straight face that there needs to be a transition to college after 12 years of schooling – 13 if you count kindergarten (soon to be 14 in NYC)..
      We are doomed.

  • Einsatzgrenadier

    When the goal to have 55 percent of adult Marylanders hold a degree was announced in 2009, the rate was about 44.4 percent. That figure rose to 45.4 percent in 2012 and Howard said it is now about 48 percent, which she said was ahead of schedule for the long-term goal.


    This is stupid. Trying to push as many people as possible through the college education system will simply make the BA an increasingly worthless degree. Because employees cannot be screened by companies using IQ testing, the BA will become a proxy for future job performance, even for jobs that do not require a college education. Unfortunately, this won’t end until the doctorate becomes the new gateway to success. There is no such thing as enough education in state-run institutions. Education is just another Ponzi scheme run by the globalist elite.

  • The same junk has been going down in Texas for over a decade. Every Mexican must get a college degree or the state implodes, according to the educational “experts.” And the good ole white boy state legislators have bought this nonsense.

    One of the black profs at the University of Texas at San Antonio was fired because his grades were too low. That tells you right there which way standards are going. As I used to say, “Might as well print the diploma on a roll of toilet paper. It would be useful for something that way.”

    • Rhialto

      A Black teacher fired for giving low grades, and (because?) every Mehican must get a college degree. Perhaps this is another chink in the Diversity coalition.

      • WR_the_realist

        Yes, there are some honest black people out there with standards, Thomas Sowell isn’t the only one. They get mowed down by the diversity uber alles crowd just as the the white people do.

  • dcc2379

    Just gut the college curriculum, and what formerly passed for sixth grade, no wait, fifth grade, can qualify for a BS. How ironic!

  • Dale McNamee

    As if Marylanders aren’t moronic enough… (Sadly,My wife and I are trapped there)… The college degree ( AS/AA, BS/BA. MS/MA, PhD.) have been rendered almost useless… My wife had an Associate Degree in Nursing and it served her well in her career and she gained a lot of practical experience in addition to it and was able to be a competent manager. ( She’s also a Life Member of the local volunteer fire department as a Firefighter/EMT… And she’s been an EMT for 40 years and a firefighter for 30+ years… She became an EMT when fire and EMS ( Emergency Medical Services ) were seperate entities… Thus, the discrepancies …
    Then, the Maryland Board of Nursing required all nurses to get their BSN as a requirement for having a license… She did, and discovered that many places were hiring LPNs (nothing wrong with LPNs… My wife was one and the LPNs that graduated from teaching hospitals were far more competent than college educated nurses) I asked my wife about the differences between the BSN and ADN and she said learning how to manage staff ( she already had a couple of decades doing so )… She said that the rest of the classes covered what she already learned previously from her ADN courses and experience…
    And, you don’t need a college degree to work at Starbucks or Walmart,etc. The jobs that really demand the “knowledge” that a college education bestows aren’t there…
    Degrees such as Medical, Nursing, Engineering, the ” Hard Sciences” are still valuable… But, we don’t need degrees in gender studies,chicano studies, and the like… You can get that from the Internet…
    I’m a big fan of trade schools… Less money, less time, and getting a job during and after attending school… Everybody needs plumbers, electricians, auto mechanics, roofers, etc.
    A college degree doesn’t mean that the person is smarter than anyone else… In fact, it means the opposite in many cases…


    “…goal of increasing the proportion of college-educated Marylanders to 55 percent by 2025.”

    Then everyone will be above average.

    • Dale McNamee

      Sounds like “Lake Woebegone”…

  • Dale McNamee

    College educated and no employment… Student loan debt and no way of paying it… How great is that ?