Tuition may be reduced at UM Legislature must OK plan to slice surcharge.

March 24, 1992|By Lou Ferrara | Lou Ferrara,Contributing Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- A plan endorsed by University of Maryland officials today would lower tuition for students as early as this fall, but administrators fear the proposed reductions could hit a snag in the General Assembly.

The Board of Regents finance committee passed a "contingency plan" that would reduce a previously announced tuition surcharge from about 16 percent to 5 percent.

For example, Maryland resilents at Towson State University who were expecting to xay an additional $240 next fall would pay only $90 extra if the plan is endorsed by lawmakers in Annapolis.

The 11 other University of Maryland system campuses would see similar reductions of about 9 percent if the surcharge passes.

But an actual reduction depends on whether the General Assembly approves money for the plan that Gov. William Donald Schaefer included in his 1993 budget.

The proposal is expected to be approved by the full system board next month, and following that by the governor. The tuition reduction proposal was sparked by an item in the governor's proposed budget that allocates $13.5 million to offset rising tuition costs.

"The senate has left this area of the budget intact, but the House has removed it," Chancellor Donald N. Langenberg told the seven-member system finance committee. "We have two quite different actions by the two houses at this point."

The House of Delegates appropriations committee is meeting today to hear budget amendments as delegates debated Mr. Schaefer's $12.5 billion spending plan. Del. James C. Rosapepe, D-Prince George's, said he and other delegates met with Mr. Schaefer last week to seek a supplemental appropriation if the money is cut out of the budget.

He said a House Appropriations subcommittee cut the $13.5 million because secondary and elementary education also are facing budget(cuts but don't have the option to ask for higher tuition.

John Stierhoff, chief counsel for State Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., D-Prince George's, said the senate kept the governor's additional $13.5 million in the proposed state budget, but added that legislators also anticipated that the higher tuition surcharge as passed last year would remain in effect.

In the midst of more than $100 million in cuts to University of Maryland system colleges, the school's regents decided last year to put more of the burden on students in the form of atuition surcharge, not necessarily a permanent increase.

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