UM system to request extra money

$40 million to put funding on par with other schools

August 28, 1999|By Michael Hill | Michael Hill,SUN STAFF

The Board of Regents will ask the state for an extra $40 million next year for schools in the University System of Maryland, money that will be distributed according to a formula designed to fund the schools on a par with peer institutions in other states.

According to the budget approved by the regents yesterday, the $40 million would be in addition to $759 million requested from state general funds for the 13 institutions in the system. Such supplemental requests are allowed for projects deemed "high priority items."

Joseph A. Vivona, vice chancellor for administration and finance, told the regents that the additional money would allow Maryland schools to be funded at more than 90 percent of the level of funding of their peer institutions in other states.

Most Maryland public schools are funded at a level between 80 percent and 90 percent of similar out-of-state institutions, based on money per full-time student. That means that for every $10,000 a peer school gets per student, a Maryland public school gets between $8,000 and $9,000. The funding formula would give a large amount of the extra money to the University of Maryland, College Park, as an effort to increase its budget to the levels of its so-called "aspirational peers," some of the top public universities in the country.

The University of Virginia and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are among the peers for UMCP.

The Maryland Higher Education Commission analyzed data from across the country to determine 50 schools that could be called peers of Maryland institutions.

University system officials said their goal is to provide a rational way of distributing supplemental money, which is often the subject of bitter negotiations between the schools, the system and state officials.

The operating budget for the system approved yesterday is $2.4 billion for fiscal year 2001 -- 3.6 percent more than this year's. The $759 million in state funds is a 5.7 percent increase over this year's funding.

In other action, the board approved a policy prohibiting regents from being paid for lobbying before the General Assembly. The policy complies with a bill passed by the legislature last session. Former regents Chairman Lance W. Billingsley drew fire last year when he proposed opening up a lobbying operation. The proposal passed unanimously.

The regents also approved next year's tuition rates for system schools. Most are raising costs by 4 percent; the University of Baltimore will have no tuition increase.

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