LA PLATA, Md. (February 8, 2011) Student representatives from the College of Southern Maryland are heading to Annapolis to talk to their elected officials about issues affecting their educational aspirations.
On Wednesday, Feb. 9, students representing all 16 Maryland community colleges will speak with one voice at the state capital to urge lawmakers to support the full funding of community colleges in the Governor's FY2012 budget. A welcome and college rally will kick off at 9 a.m. in the Joint Hearing Room, Legislative Services Building, followed by video on Maryland's legislative process, as well as addresses from elected officials, a message from the chair of the community college presidents, a student address and meetings with senators and delegates.
CSM students will share stories about their personal paths to college and how CSM is helping them achieve their goals through access to affordable, quality education. One of the students making the trip will be Vice President of La Plata Campus Student Association Angela Majors of Indian Head. In addition to speaking one-on-one with her representatives, Majors will be addressing students and legislators as the day's keynote speaker.
Majors, 35, said that after dropping out of high school, she spent years bouncing from one dead-end job to another. When she learned she was expecting a child, she said she realized that if she didn't make a positive change in her life, her child's welfare would be at risk. Her adopted mother and fiancé, whom she describes as her biggest cheerleaders, convinced her to find that positive change through education. She enrolled in classes at CSM, and after getting over the anxiety of returning to school found that she not only enjoyed college but excelled. She is a full-time criminal justice student and the president of CSM's National Society of Leadership and Success.
"The College of Southern Maryland has provided a true turning point in my life and helped to secure a future for my son and me," said Majors. "In my opinion every American citizen deserves the wonderfully life-altering experience that a community college can provide them."
Majors plans to tell her elected officials that paying for college has been a struggle. "There is a definite need for more financial assistance programs to support the education of all Americans," she said.
The student advocacy day call to action centers on the theme of "Support=Success" because community colleges can only help more citizens be successful if there is greater state support. Students will emphasize support of the funding formula for the amount of state aid granted to each college, an increase in the state's share of the cost of community college education and support of capital requests at community colleges throughout the state.
Students will also raise awareness of the benefits of community colleges to Marylanders, including:
-- Community colleges award 12,000 associate degrees or program certificates annually.
-- More than 500,000 Marylanders enroll annually in one of Maryland's 16 community colleges.
-- The federal and state governments are relying on Maryland's 16 community colleges to help-
--- Put people back to work; retrain employees in needed areas; give high school graduates a quality education at a time when it is difficult to enroll immediately in a four-year institution
-- Maryland's community colleges continue to be less than half the cost of tuition at any of Maryland's four-year public colleges or universities.
Student testimonials are at the heart of the Student Advocacy Day efforts. To view student testimonials, visit www.mdacc.org/StudentAdvocacy or http://www.facebook.com/MDACC beginning on February 9.
Each year, student advocacy day is organized by Maryland's 16 community colleges to allow student leaders to interact with their state legislators in Annapolis and to share their concerns.