COLLEGE PARK – About 1,000 qualified students will be turned away from Maryland universities in the fall and those who are admitted will pay more to live and park on campus, the Board of Regents voted Friday.
The enrollment projections and fee increases come as the University System of Maryland is experiencing a rise in national prominence that is not reflected in increased state support, and rising tuition has led to concerns about access and affordability.
“The denial of access has already begun,” said Regent James Rosapepe.
Enrollment in the system’s 11 universities will increase by 31 percent in the next decade, the regents said, but stunted state support has forced it to slow growth at some campuses by refusing admittance to some students this year who would otherwise be accepted.
“We’ve got to be able to utilize our assets maybe better than we did before,” said Regent Joseph Tydings.
Regent David Nevins agreed.
“The goal has to be to reduce the per-student cost to the state,” he said.
About $122 million was cut from higher education last year, leading to tuition increases of up to 21 percent at some campuses. The system was level-funded this year, but 10 percent tuition increases have already been approved.
The Regents have formed a work group that will meet over the summer to discuss how to handle enrollment and distribute new students throughout the system’s institutions.
Slowed enrollment growth will be seen on several campuses, including Towson, Bowie State and Frostburg State universities, said System Chancellor William Kirwan.
Community colleges will also play a large roll in accommodating graduating high school students, Tydings said.
The fee increases approved by the regents are for self-supporting student services like dorms, dining halls and parking that do not receive state dollars and increase annually. But Student Regent Philip Shockley said the fee increases, which he was alone in voting against, only compound students’ financial burdens.
“You’re talking significant hardships on students,” Shockley said. “The students throughout the system are really concerned.”
Dorm fee increases will vary from 1.1 percent, or $50, at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County to 5.4 percent, or $240, at the University of Maryland, College Park.
The fee increases were approved just four days after the General Assembly voted to cap in-state, undergraduate tuition increases at 5 percent and increase state funding for the system. But Gov. Robert Ehrlich has vowed to veto the proposal because it requires a 10 percent increase in the corporate tax.
“We had a very good (General Assembly) session, but we’re not to the finish line yet,” Rosapepe said.
The enrollment projections and fee increases caused concern for some prospective students and their parents who were at the University of Maryland, College Park Friday for an open house.
“You pay taxes all these years . . . and your kids can’t get in,” said Pat Murphy, whose daughter, Janet Savin-Murphy, was admitted to College Park for the spring.
Meredith Epstein was joined at the open house by her father Norman Epstein, a faculty member at College Park. She said she has high school friends who could not afford to attend the university because of tuition and fee increases.
Her father said he has heard the same thing from his students.
“Some students are quite anxious to see if they’ll be able to stay in school,” Norman Epstein said.
Jenny Lares, a College Park sophomore, said she was worried about the talented students who might be denied admission because of enrollment concerns.
“Just because of the budget cuts they’re refusing people?” she asked. “It just discourages people now.”