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USM approves in-state tuition waiver for Amazon employees

Robert Caret in 2014. (The Daily Record / Maximilian Franz)

Robert Caret in 2014. (The Daily Record / Maximilian Franz)

The University System of Maryland Board of Regents Tuesday approved a measure that would waive in-state tuition requirements for Amazon employees who move to Maryland as part of Amazon’s second headquarters project, known as HQ2.

Amazon employees and their immediate families would gain access to the state’s public universities for in-state tuition rates. The change will sunset after five years.

The move comes as several jurisdictions in Maryland, including Baltimore City, Howard County and Prince George’s County, are vying for Amazon’s HQ2, expected to bring up to 50,000 jobs and $5 billion of construction to whichever jurisdiction wins the bid.

Municipalities across the country are competing for the bid, and Chancellor Robert Caret said the University System of Maryland wanted to do its part to help bring Amazon to Maryland.

“The USM is excited to support the state’s bid for Amazon’s HQ2,” Caret said in a statement. “Maryland’s commitment to higher education has resulted in one of its most significant strengths — a well-educated, highly skilled workforce. Maryland ranks 3rd nationwide in the percentage of the population age 25 and above with a bachelor’s degree, 2nd in the percentage with a graduate or professional degree, and 1st in percentage of professional and technical workers.”

The system estimates that the financial impact would be small. It would mostly apply to families that move to Maryland with students that are about to graduate from high school because they would be eligible for Maryland’s current residency requirements after just one year.

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