"I don't know about you, but I think it's about time we make college affordable for everybody," Obama added. "We're going to have a $4,000 tuition credit [for] every student, every year, so that young people aren't burdened by debt."
But that break is no freebie, Obama told the students. He expects something in return.
"You're going to have to participate in community service, national service, work in a homeless shelter, work in a veteran's hall," he told them. "We'll invest in you, you invest in America — together, we'll march forward."
Obama made numerous references to Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy.
"I am running for what Dr. King called 'the fierce urgency of now," Obama said. "Our nation is at war, our planet is in peril, the dream that so many generations fought for feels like it's slowly slipping away ... people are working harder for less, they've never paid more for college, they've never paid more for gas at the pump.
"All around the country, I meet young people who have the grades, the will and the drive to go to college, but don't have the money, so they end up taking out loans," Obama said. "They've got a mortgage before they ever buy a house, before they even have a job."
Obama struggled to be heard above the cheers and applause as he said, "We cannot afford to wait. We can't wait to fix our schools, we can't wait to fix our health care system. We can't wait to send our young people to college instead of to prison, we can't wait to stop global warming, we cannot wait to bring this war in Iraq to a close, we cannot wait."
Maryland's College Park campus has been the site of several campaign stops ahead of Tuesday's Maryland primary. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee gave a speech in the Grand Ballroom of the Stamp Student Union, to a crowd of about 1,000 people on Saturday.
Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton met with a group of several dozen supporters of her mother, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., in the food court area of the Student Union on Sunday morning.
One Maryland student who attended all three rallies, said, at Obama's event, that she is more sure than ever whom she's going to support.
"Chelsea Clinton was very persuasive yesterday, but I think this is really inspirational. This was different," Jamie Mertc, a freshman government major said, adding that she voted absentee ballot, and she voted for Obama.
Sophomore Arnie Rosner said, after the Obama event, that while he registered as an independent, and won't be able to vote until November, he is still undecided.
"It was a great speech, but I'm still not 100 percent convinced on who I'm going to vote for," Rosner said.
Samantha Nickey, a freshman psychology and art major, who will be voting for the first time on Tuesday, in the Maryland primary, said Obama's speech didn't sway her vote. She is still supporting Clinton.
"It actually kinda made me want to vote for Hillary more, because I just thought it was repetitive and not as defined," Nickey said.
"I just think that she is more, going to get the job done," she added. "He's trying to be inspiring, but I don't know exactly if that means gets the job done as well."