CAMBRIDGE – What’s a name got to do with it? Well, the University of Maryland System Board of Regents says plenty.
The board voted unanimously Friday to ask Maryland legislators to change the system’s name to the University System of Maryland as early as next July.
Regents said the current name suggests only the seven schools with the words “University of Maryland” in their names are part of the system. The system includes six other schools.
They also said the public associates the “University of Maryland” with the College Park and Baltimore campuses – not with the other member schools such as Bowie and Frostburg state universities and Coppin state college.
Regents hope this change, which the Legislature will consider next year, will put a halt to public confusion.
“The board wants all 13 institutions that are in the system to be represented in the name,” said John Lippincott, associate vice chancellor for advancement for the University of Maryland System. “Many Marylanders are confused about the board’s mission. This name change is a way to achieve clarity as well as help the public understand better who the system represents and what we do.”
The board also called for changing the names of Towson State University and the Center for Environmental and Estuarine Studies in Cambridge.
Towson would become Towson University. And the Center for Environmental and Estuarine Studies would become the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.
“Since the board was reviewing the system’s name, they asked presidents at all 13 campuses if they felt their school’s name should be changed for any reason,” Lippincott said.
“Towson is trying to get more funding from other resources besides the state. So they believe by dropping the word `state’ in their name, potential donors won’t overlook them for contributions. CEES’s name is long and cumbersome. People have a hard time getting it correct. The school and the regents thought that change would better serve them,” he said.
In other action, the board approved a policy change aimed at lowering tuition for part-time students as early as the fall of 1997.
The system’s 40,813 part-time students will see a 4.2 percent decrease in the cost for each credit hour.
For example, a part-time in-state undergraduate student at Towson State University pays $134 per credit hour. The amendment reduces that to $128 per credit hour.
The board also stabilized student activity fees. In the past, officials at the system’s campuses were allowed to ask the board to approve activity fee increases each semester. The change permits only one such request a year. The amendment keeps the fee at the same level for the full academic year.
Finally, the board approved a change urging campus administrators to charge out-of-state students tuition that covers 100 percent of the cost of their educations.
The amendment is aimed at increasing the share of costs borne by students who do not live in Maryland. However, there would be no penalties if a campus failed to comply.
“These are just small adjustments to help our current policy,” said Joe Vivona, vice chancellor for administration and finance for the University of Maryland System. “We will look at the tuition policy again and find even more ways for it to benefit all students.”