ANNAPOLIS – The University of Maryland Regents are leaning toward a new policy that would keep tuition the same for classes taught on and off campus.
Under the change, the 13 institutions of the University of Maryland System would absorb additional costs of offering classes at satellite locations, instead of passing them on to off-campus students.
The regents are almost certain to pass the provision at their next scheduled full board meeting December 1 at the University of Baltimore, said George Marx, the system’s vice chancellor for academic affairs.
Only one school has levied such charges: the University of Maryland College Park, asking between $145 and $8 dollars extra to cover equipment costs for instructional television classes at the Shady Grove Center.
But Harley Cloud, director at Shady Grove, said the new policy will have “zero” impact. “The Regents are putting into formal policy what has happened because of pressure put on the universities,” Cloud said.
Cloud said that last year, Del. Cheryl Kagan, D-Montgomery, suggested system officials do something about the tuition disparity. College Park officials complied, making the price the same for on- and off-campus courses.
Marx said the new policy would keep such discrepancies from occurring in the future.
Marx said there would be one loophole: administrators may ask the Board of Regents to let them charge more for a class under “extraordinary” circumstances, which would be defined case by case.
Additional costs — such as faculty travel, equipment to broadcast classes, rent and maintenance, and delivery of materials to off-campus sites — will be absorbed by the universities, Marx said.
System schools traditionally offer off campus classes where there is interest in college courses, but no strong presence of higher education institutions. Some classes are offered at university operated centers such as those in Shady Grove and St. Charles. Others are held at such independent locations as Andrews Air Force base and correctional institutions.
The sites serve roughly 19,000 students across the state, according to system enrollment documents.
Dennis Hinkle, the dean of Towson State University’s College of Education, said state schools should be committed to offering classes with the same quality and price at off-campus locations. “The only other option is for the university [system] to open a new branch or start a new university” to reach all who want to take college-level courses, he said. -30-