A MID-ATLANTIC MIRACLE…. At a time when public university tuition rates everywhere are skyrocketing, one state has managed to buck this trend: Maryland. Jon Marcus, U.S. correspondent for the Times (U.K.) Higher Education magazine, decided to figure out why. The answer, it turned out, had more to do with common sense and reasonable debate than anything else.

“It’s not a terribly shocking tale,” Marcus writes in a web exclusive article on the Washington Monthly‘s new College Guide website, “unless you work in academia, in which case you talk about the Maryland example the way soldiers discuss the Battle of Thermopylae. Indeed, what’s astonishing about this story is not so much what happened as the fact that in other states, such things almost never do.”

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.