Bill Signing Day 2024

April 25, 2024: Governor Wes Moore signed the Next Generation Scholars of Maryland Program (NGS Program) —Program Administrator—Alterations bill (HB 624 / SB 517) into law – a significant law to cement a baseline in breaking barriers for student success.

The Maryland Alliance is delivering on the promise and progress of accessible higher education for students from low-income, first-generation, and marginalized families. The Alliance successfully advocated for the Maryland Higher Education Commission, with State Department of Education support to the Commission, with the review of applications and the selection of nonprofit organizations to administer the NGS Program in local school systems.

The NGS Program was launched in 2016 for Maryland counties, which have a 50% higher free and reduced lunch rate for students. The state-wide program is supported by line item funding of $5M for non-profit programs that provide this service. The NGS Program serves as an important partner with schools, especially for counselors not trained in educating students and families on college financial aid. The NGS Program bridges the gap in having the knowledge of college affordability on need-based scholarships from the Maryland Higher Education Commission. It also demonstrates the state's commitment to establishing the pipeline for low-income students to attend college and graduate with a higher education degree.

The Maryland Higher Education Commission is the state’s higher education regulatory and coordinating board, responsible for establishing statewide policies for Maryland public and private colleges and universities, as well as for the for-profit career schools. The commission also administers $130 million in financial assistance to more than 65,000 Maryland students each year.

Appreciative of FGCB staff, students, and alumni who testified and shared their work and experiences. Those who gave oral testimony include Director of Program Services Deja Cobbs; our high school seniors Memuna Bangura and Syeed Mashrafi and FGCB alum Lisa Jones, testify on SB 517; and college student Taira Ford on HB 624.

Special thanks to our First Generation College Bound Alum, State Senator Alonzo Washington, District 22 Prince George’s County, who sponsored SB 517 and State Delegate Ben Barnes, Chair of the House Appropriations Committee who sponsored HB 624.