ANNAPOLIS – Nearly 4,000 well-qualified students may not be admitted to schools in the University System of Maryland next year if the system does not receive enough state funding, enrollment projections released Thursday show.
Student enrollment will increase by 2.8 percent by fall 2005, and by fall 2006 the system will need a cash infusion to pay for that increase, said members of the University System of Maryland Board of Regents.
A 10-year student enrollment projection released at the board’s finance committee meeting Thursday revealed that while 128,807 students are now enrolled in the system, 132,425 students are predicted to be enrolled in fall 2005. The finance committee estimated the system will not have the funds to pay for the extra 3,618 qualified students.
“This is a future problem,” said Regent David Nevins, finance chairman. “It’s our intention to figure out a way to get the money.”
The report also revealed a 32.7 percent increase in students over the next 10 years. The system’s student population is expected to grow to 170,865 students in 2014.
Nevins said that enrollment demand will lead to too many qualified college students being turned away.
“Many of our institutions are becoming too selective,” Nevins said.
An estimated $15 million to $18 million more will be requested from the state to meet the increased enrollment cost in fall 2006, said Joseph Vivona, vice chancellor for administration and finance, who presented the report.
Universities pay 40 percent to 60 percent of the cost for students to go to college with state funds and the student pays the rest of the cost, Vivona said.
Since the board has not calculated the budget for fiscal year 2007, he said he does not know specific numbers on how much the system will be receiving and how much it needs.
“It’s really early,” said Vivona. “Right now (the 4,000 students) are not included in the projection.”
In his presentation, Vivona also revealed that Maryland has a higher percentage of students taking the Scholastic Aptitude Test than any other state in the nation.
Community colleges are dealing with the same enrollment increases, Vivona said. Montgomery College had to turn students away for the first time this year, he said at the meeting.
Steve Simon, Montgomery College spokesman, clarified that community colleges are still open-admissions institutions, by definition.
“But with increased demand for our classes — as more and more young students are turning to us to begin their education — students sometimes find that the classes they need are already full,” Simon said.
Regent James Rosapepe said it is possible that the students will not receive the extra funding from the state.
“A lot of them just won’t be able to go to college,” Rosapepe said. “It’s outrageous.”