Board decides to end four-year tuition freeze
The entire Maryland universities system will raise tuition three percent for the 2010-2011 school year, ending a four-year freeze supported by the state budget, according to Monica West, director of budget for the University of Maryland.
West said that the universities, including all University of Maryland campuses, Towson University and the University of Baltimore, had originally asked for a five percent increase in tuition to cover their rising costs for the next academic year, but the state was able to provide adequate funding to keep the increase to three percent.
West said that the tuition for all of the main Maryland universities will still be between $5,000 and $7,000 per year for a resident student. For 2010-2011, University of Maryland College Park will cost $6,763 (a $397 increase), Towson University will cost $5,336 (a $156 increase) and University of Maryland Baltimore County will cost $6,679.
According to director of the University of Maryland Department of Budget and Fiscal Analysis John Blair, the tuition freeze only applied to undergraduate tuition for in-state students.
Blair said that tuition for undergraduate out-of-state students and all graduate students will continue to go up by three and six percent each year, respectively.
Every year the school has rising mandatory costs, Blair said. These mandatory costs, which include health insurance and retirement costs for employees and utilities such as natural gas, increase each year due mostly to inflationary costs, said Blair.
In some school years, according to Blair, there are salary, cost of living and merit increases due to inflation that raise tuition costs to compensate, although they will not take effect for the 2010-2011 school year. Blair said that because Fiscal Year 2011 will be a difficult year economically due to flagging financial support from the state, the university employees will continue experiencing furloughs, or decreases in salary, which are imposed by the state in order to manage the budget.
During the years of the freeze, which began in the 2006-2007 school year, the governor negotiated with the university Board of Regents regarding the amount of money the state budget could provide to the system, according to the press secretary for the Office of the Governor Sean Adamec. For this coming year, however, the state budget was unable to accomodate the rising costs of the unversities within the Maryland university system.
This year, Adamec said, the governor was unable to allocate funds in the budget to maintain a zero-percent increase in tuition for students. In this case, the universities were forced to create additional funding by raising the tuition for the first time since the freeze began in 2006. "We needed to find that money in other places," Adamec said. "The governor said it was not permanent from the beginning."
The governor began the freeze in 2006 to make college more affordable for families, Adamec said. "It's all about prioritizing what we want to spend and to make college more affordable is one of those [priorities]," he said.
According to Adamec, O'Malley cut the budget more than any other Maryland governor in recent history for FY 2011. He was able to eliminate over $5.6 billion in four years from the state budget by cutting unnecessary costs and state positions.
West added that Maryland has gone from the state with the sixth most expensive tuition to the twenty-first most expensive in the country in the past four years, in part due to the tuition freeze. West maintained that even though tuition will have to rise in order to continue offering the university's programs, three percent is a fairly modest increase. According to West, prior to the freeze, a normal increase in tuition was four percent, but in hard economic times the system might have chosen to increase tuition by up to ten percent from year to year.
Philipa Friedman. I am the Print Managing News Editor for the 2010-2011 school year. My other school-related extracurriculars include: French Honors Society Director of Carpentry, stage manager and sound technician for Blair theater Did you see that? No serial comma. PRINT RULES! More »
Rebecca Guterman. Rebecca Guterman loves being on Silver Chips! In what little spare time she has left over, she loves to play the piano, dance really badly, and listen to music. Above all, seeing and talking to friends 24/7 is a must. Even though most of her ... More »