Austere state fiscal conditions may cripple the 3-year-old effort to improve higher education in Maryland and could lead to tuition increases for the 11 University of Maryland institutions, UM Chancellor Donald Langenberg says.
Comparing funding for UM to a "roller coaster" ride, Langenberg has set off on a lobbying campaign in the General Assembly.
Langenberg wants to ensure that the legislature fully funds Gov. William Donald Schaefer's budget request for higher education, submitted last week.
The chancellor was to testify today before the Senate Subcommittee on Health, Education and Human Resources on the proposed budget.
Schaefer's budget allows the UM system a 1.5 percent increase in operating expenses for 1992 at $1.46 billion.
State budget officials had already made $64 million in cuts to the UM system in 1991 and 1992 that Langenberg said threaten to set back progress made since the legislature enacted a reorganization of higher education in 1988.
He said that cost cuts may have to be made up in tuition increases and possible layoffs within the system.
"I believe the system is at the point where any further significant cut for 1992 will surely trigger substantial layoffs," Langenberg said. "Frankly, I doubt that it will be possible to avoid some layoffs even in the absence of further cuts."
The governor's 1992 budget totals $11.56 billion and pushes back spending to 1990 levels for many state agencies because of recent drops in tax revenues and the recession.
In a prepared statement released yesterday, the chancellor also expressed concern over the UM system's administrators having complete control over managing future budget cuts.
"The University of Maryland System has been hit, and hit hard," Langenberg's statement said. "We are concerned that we may have been asked to carry more than our fair share of the burden. We are equally concerned that we be allowed the latitude to bring to bear the experience, knowledge and skills of our system's leaders in managing our way through this crisis."