By Connor Glowacki
Capital News Service
ANNAPOLIS — University System of Maryland Chancellor Robert Caret told lawmakers from the state House Education and Economic Development subcommittee on Thursday that Maryland’s universities will push for better enrollment at campuses where numbers are lagging and will aim to curb the dropout rate for all schools.
The University System of Maryland’s fiscal 2017 budget overview showed that overall undergraduate enrollment at their respective institutions grew by 2.1 percent in the fall 2015 semester, largely because the number of transfer students increased by 15 percent at University of Maryland University College.
However without University of Maryland University College, enrollment only grew by 0.4 percent, and five universities experienced an overall decline in enrollment, the largest being a 4 percent drop at the University of Baltimore.
Caret told lawmakers that the University System of Maryland would be looking to aim students at campuses, such as University of Baltimore and University of Maryland Baltimore County, where enrollment is decreasing.
In a printout of comments presented to the subcommittee, Caret said that the University System of Maryland would work with each campus and consider different factors based on what that campus thinks is most important to its recruitment success and the students’ graduation rates.
Delegate Shelly Hettleman, D-Baltimore County, asked Caret why more students have decided to discontinue their education at state schools.
“There are financial and cultural reasons. And even class availability can be a reason too. But I don’t want to accept that,” Caret said.
Earlier in the briefing, the Department of Legislative Services recommended to the subcommittee a reduction in the University System of Maryland’s planned raises, to 2.4 percent from 2.5 percent, cutting the budget by $1.4 million.
Caret said that The University System of Maryland opposed the recommendation and would work with the Department of Budget and Management to try to retain the funding.