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million into that pot.
As Maryland looks ahead, tuition increases
are likely to remain a touchy subject. State Senator
Patrick J. Hogan, vice chairman of the budget and
taxation committee and sponsor of the legislation
freezing this year’s increase, said the current
budget surplus is a one-time event, because costs
of Medicaid and K–12 education are going up, and
deficits loom.
“These are students and their families who’ve
gotten 20 to 35 percent (tuition) increases in the
last couple of years,” Hogan said. “I fully respect
the regents’ role to set tuition based on projected
revenue,” he added, but said that the one-year freeze
was necessary because “it is only fair to do this for
students, to give them a break.”
In addition to spending more for operating
expenses and for student aid, Ehrlich provided
more money this year for the state’s historically
black campuses.
For example, state funding for Coppin State
increased by $9.4 million—45 percent—to $30.1
million, enabling the campus to improve its public
safety andmaintenance services, and to support
its recent 11.1 percent enrollment increase. The
school now has 4,300 students and could reach 6,000 students
by 2015, said President Stanley Battle. Coppin also broke
ground last year for a $57 million health and human services
building, providing classrooms, labs and offices for its nursing,
counseling, social work and criminal justice programs.
His campus had been “woefully underfunded,” said
Battle, who became Coppin’s president in 2003 after serving
as vice chancellor for student andmulticultural affairs at the
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
“The governor made a commitment to
help the university,” he said. “That was
courageous. I’mpretty sure I wouldn’t
have come otherwise.”
But shortly after Battle arrived at
Coppin, the campus faced cuts, along
with the rest of the system. “I was not
going to lay anybody off. For a new
president, that was not going to look
good,” he said. So everyone on campus,
Battle included, took from four to 11
furlough days without pay, for a savings
of more than $300,000. “The regents
recognized what we did,” he said.
Evidently so did the governor.
Reflecting on USM’s “effectiveness
and efficiency” effort, Kirwan said his
motivation and that of the Board of
Regents was the sense that although
higher education is “still valued as something good for a
person—to enter and achieve a degree—it is considered a
private benefit.” Higher education had begun to lose the public
goodwill, he explained. “Because of this decline, we didn’t have
a lot of support in legislatures,” he said. “Higher education took
a beating in the first couple years of this decade. The public
thought we had begun to turn our back on the neediest.”
Higher education had been unwilling “to recognize the way
the rest of the world operates,” Kirwan added. “[We] had been
unwilling to take a serious look at our operations and to take
steps to control costs.” In order to restore the support higher
education had enjoyed in the past, Kirwan became convinced
that it would be necessary to address the two critical issues of
costs and student aid. So the university restructured its budget
submission—aligning it very carefully with state priorities such
as enrollment growth and workforce development. And the
effort has paid off, winning more support from the governor
and legislature.
KayMills is the author of “This Little Light of Mine: The Life of
Fannie Lou Hamer,” and four other books.
The Maryland
system expects an
enrollment increase
of 20 percent by the
end of this decade,
hence the urgency to
save money, increase
faculty productivity and
encourage students to
graduate sooner.
As chancellor of the University System of Maryland since 2002, William E.
“Brit” Kirwan has led efforts to cut costs, increase the faculty workload and
provide more student financial aid.