Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) today restored merit grants to 350 high school seniors, each of whom had been expecting $3,000 Distinguished Scholars awards to attend state colleges in fall.

With the action, O’Malley effectively shortened the shelf life of a budding controversy. As reported in today’s Baltimore Sun, the students found out over the past few days that the scholarship program had been cut and the funds would not be coming.

It was unfortunate timing, as most of the students already had made enrollment decisions based on financial aid packages that included the grants.

O’Malley proposed eliminating Distinguished Scholars this year to save the state an estimated $1 million annually. But the governor said “it was never our intention to impact prior awards.”

The 350 affected students had learned of their awards earlier in the academic year. They found out just a few days ago, via a letter from the Maryland Higher Education Commission, that the state’s largesse had been reversed.

“Clearly, our commitment to honor existing awards was not fulfilled and I’ve directed MHEC to immediately correct the error and restore the four-year scholarships to all seniors who were expecting their award,” O’Malley said in a statement.

For more on merit aid, read this.