UM regents OK 4% tuition boost

November 07, 1990|By Melody Simmons | Melody Simmons,Evening Sun Staff

The University of Maryland Board of Regents today approved a recession-wary $1 billion operating budget for 1992 that includes a proposed 4 percent undergraduate tuition and fee increase.

The budget vote followed a one-hour hearing during which the majority of the UM system's 11 presidents lamented recent budget cuts and the new budget request. They said next year's budget, which does increase spending over this year's levels, will affect the quality of education and campus services.

"There is a lot of disappointment that the hopes and dreams of a year or so ago now are going to be put on hold," said UM College Park President William Kirwan. "Our programs will inevitably slow down."

The proposed 1992 budget -- accompanied by a $75.1 million request for additional funding -- will be forwarded to Gov. William Donald Schaefer Friday.

The proposal reflects the funding level set last month when the presidents cut 6 percent from this year's operating budget. The cut was made after Schaefer issued a statewide cost containment order that was sparked by the recession.

Many of the presidents are wary that further cuts may be ordered if the state's red ink increases. The regents agreed that a minor tuition and fee increase could help fund some enhancements that were chopped by the budget ax.

But UM Chancellor Donald Langenberg's proposal to increase tuition by 6 percent was overturned by Regents Albert Whiting and Roger Blunt, who complained that students would be discouraged from attending college if tuitions climbed too high.

The regents agreed in a closed session to reduce Langenberg's proposed tuition increase.

The proposed 4 percent tuition boost does not exceed the projected consumer price index for 1992. Consequently, it does not conflict with a directive from Schaefer against increasing state tuitions to "unreasonable" levels, said state Higher Education Secretary Shaila Aery.

Most UM presidents said they understood the belt-tightening measures. But they were worried about the effects of the cutbacks on the 2-year-old plan to improve the system and bring UM national recognition.

Towson State University President Hoke L. Smith said his campus police force is down five officers, three of them because of the cost containment measures. After last week's rape of a female student on the campus, Smith said, he is under pressure to beef up security.

At College Park, Kirwan said the 1992 lack of growth would halt a plan to reduce the freshman enrollment by 4 percent for next fall. A larger freshman class would bring in much-needed tuition and fee revenues, he said.

Bowie State University President James Lyons said the growth of his campus will be thwarted because he cannot afford to hire additional faculty members.

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