WASHINGTON – Students at the University of Maryland at College Park who have complained that the tuition and fee hike they’re being hit with next fall is too hefty were given new ammunition Wednesday.
The College Board released its Annual Survey of Colleges, revealing that Maryland’s 9.9 percent increase for in-state students attending its flagship campus is twice the national average. The increase was approved this spring.
“I’m in shock. That’s a lot of money,” said Amy Moxey, president of the University of Maryland’s Residence Halls Association. “I hope it doesn’t hurt enrollment.”
Nationally, undergraduates at two- and four-year public and private institutions will pay 5 percent more in the fall, the survey showed.
The increased costs do not include books and personal expenses, said Donald M. Stewart, president of the College Board, a national nonprofit membership organization that aids student transition to higher education.
Patricia McGuire, a College Board member and president of Trinity College in the District, said among the factors contributing to tuition increases at schools across the country are increasing costs for labor and technology, improvements in the quality of education and increased disbursements of financial aid.
Students are expecting more from a college in terms of health care, computer facilities, athletic facilities, campus security and learning services, she said. Federal and state governments also have pushed for better health care, academic and security services, she said.
“Students and families have expectations of our services and what the total value of their dollars is going to be,” McGuire said.
The increase at the University of Maryland at College Park – well above the University of Maryland System’s average increase of 6.4 percent – is partly due to the flagship campus’ added educational responsibilities, said university relations director Roland King.
“We’re a place that’s been changing and growing dramatically,” he said. King noted a College Park Scholars program was started three years ago to provide additional support to honors students and new computer labs with Internet access were added.
The increase at College Park adds $3,494 a year to in-state students’ tuition and fees, King said.
State officials cut funds for higher education by 20 percent four years ago, which raised tuition and cut programs, said John Lippincott, a system spokesman.
“We’ve had to make up for that, plus streamline, tighten belts and cut back,” he said.
But the 9.9 percent hike at College Park for next year still falls under a barrier set in 1993 to moderate costs, Lippincott said. Under that barrier, in-state students could only be charged up to 40 percent of the cost of their education. Stewart said although the tuition increases may seem high, they need to be put into perspective. “The majority of full-time undergraduate students attend institutions that charge less than $4,000 [a year] for tuition and fees,” he said. -30-