Maryland is the 13th state to pass the DREAM Act, a law that features a provision allowing undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition at state colleges, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. The law was approved following the approval of a referendum with 59 percent of the vote on Tuesday. Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley signed the act in May after it received support from other Maryland Democrats. Maryland's version of the law is the strictest so far, requiring students to receive a high school diploma and attend at least three years of high school in Maryland before qualifying. Among other stipulations, students must also agree to apply for permanent residency, and their parents must file state income tax returns for at least three years. Eligible students must apply as nonresidents of Maryland and earn at least 60 community college credits before they are able to transfer and attend state colleges at in-state tuition rates. While the federal DREAM Act has repeatedly failed to pass in Congress since 2001, the bill was reintroduced in 2012 and is currently being debated, according to The Chronicle.
President Barack Obama's reelection has caused higher education advocates to examine the actions of an administration that has focused on expanding federal student aid and regulating institutions of higher education, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. During the presidential campaigns, both Obama and Mitt Romney focused on economic issues associated with the rising costs of higher education, student loan debt and unemployment rates among college graduates. In his next term as president, Obama will continue to face a Republican majority in the House of Representatives, which could force him to use executive regulatory authority to implement changes in higher education. One of the president's higher education reform goals includes halving the rising cost of tuition over the next 10 years by allocating federal aid to colleges that successfully slow the growth of their tuition rates, according to The Chronicle.
The number of Americans completing high school and college has reached a record high, The New York Times reported. One-third of Americans between the ages of 25 and 29 have received at least a bachelor's degree, according to a recent Pew Research Center study of census information. Ninety percent of Americans in this age group graduated from high school, and 63 percent attended college for a period of time, even if they did not necessarily graduate. The country's economic recession may have played a role in these changes, since the lack of available job opportunities has forced young people to make education a priority. The study found that recent economic issues have caused students to alter their overall attitudes regarding education, increasing the importance of various levels of education across the country, The Times reported.