By Amanda Burdette
FROSTBURG, Md. – State undergraduate students attending University of Maryland campuses in the 1998-’99 academic year will pay an average of 4 percent more in tuition.
The University of Maryland System Board of Regents on Friday voted unanimously to drop their 7 percent tuition increase, as proposed in August, to the lower figure.
Regents Chairman Lance W. Billingsley said the reduction addressed “issues of quality and affordability.”
And in a statement issued from Annapolis, Gov. Parris N. Glendening said the regents’ action “shows that Maryland intends to keep the doors of higher education open to all our bright and capable students.”
Actual tuition increases will range from a low of 3 percent at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore to a high of 7 percent at Bowie State University, University of Baltimore, Salisbury State University, Towson University and the University of Maryland Baltimore County.
At the University of Maryland at College Park, the system’s flagship school, tuition will go up 6.8 percent to $4,000 — the highest bill for in-state undergraduates in the system.
Billingsley noted that the 4 percent average increase is a half percent above the inflation rate, allowing “some money to be spent to increase quality.”
But the regents are counting on the state to make up some of the revenue they sacrificed by giving up the 7 percent increase. “We are calling on the state, students, the private sector – but especially on the state” to improve the universities, Billingsley said.
Glendening addressed that likelihood in his statement.
“With the help of the General Assembly, we have increased state support for higher education in each of the three budgets since 1995,” he said. “The tuition policy the University System approved today sends a clear message to students that we will continue to do everything possible to keep college affordable. We will also do all we can to support the [University of Maryland] System’s drive toward excellence.”
Justin McCord, a senior marketing major and member of the student government association at Salisbury State, called the 4 percent increase a “compromise and a benefit to the students.” He added that it shows the regents have faith in state government.
The board also passed a motion to cap tuition increases at 4 percent for the next four years. The cap could be broken at the request of the system chancellor with the approval of the board.
The cap “provides guidelines and targets I hope we can meet,” Donald N. Langenberg, the system’s chancellor, said.
Billingsley said he hoped the moderate tuition increase would prevent parents from using the federal Balanced Budget Act’s $500-per-child tax credit for tuition expenses. “We don’t expect those receiving [the break] to share the benefit with us. That is for you alone,” he said.
Billingsley also noted that where the average financial aid package once was 70 percent grants and 30 percent loans, those shares are now reversed. “Students getting in debt is a concern of this board,” Billingsley said. -30-