Md. regents OK tuition rise at system's 10 campuses

5.5% increase for in-state students breaks pledge to limit costs at colleges

May 16, 2002|By Alec MacGillis | Alec MacGillis,SUN STAFF

The Board of Regents of the University System of Maryland approved increasing in-state tuition by 5.5 percent at the state's 10 campuses yesterday, breaking a 5-year-old pledge to limit raises in college costs.

Regents said yesterday that the increase is needed because the system is receiving far less state funding than they had sought. The state budget approved last month gives the system $2.6 million over the current budget, or less than a 1 percent increase, leaving universities looking to cover about $50 million in fixed-cost increases, system officials say.

"The reductions in the budget were tough," said C.D. Mote Jr., president of the University of Maryland, College Park, where in-state tuition will increase from $4,334 to $4,572, in addition to $1,098 in mandatory fees. "It was a matter of placing the quality of our programs against the cost."

For the past five years, the regents capped in-state tuition increases at 4 percent to control rising college costs. In August, they approved increases of 4 percent at most state campuses for the 2002-2003 school year.

But in January, system officials said that Gov. Parris N. Glendening's proposed budget called for an additional 1.5 percent increase in in-state tuition. At the time, Mote and other college presidents said they hoped that could be avoided, but yesterday Mote said the final budget offered no alternative.

"We feel it's a prudent step," he said.

Out-of-state students will see even larger tuition increases: At College Park, the out-of-state rate will be $13,336, a 7.5 percent increase.

The regents, who passed the increases unanimously and without discussion, also approved a mandatory new "technology fee," which will pay for new campus technology services. The fee will be $120 at most campuses, but $50 at College Park.

The technology fee joins a growing list of mandatory charges assessed to students in addition to their tuition. The fees pay for everything from athletics to student activities and student unions and total more than $1,000 at most schools, including $1,748 at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and $1,597 at Towson University.

The tuition increases will give the system about $17 million toward its $50 million shortfall. Campuses are trying to make up the rest through budget cuts.

Interim Chancellor Joseph F. Vivona said the regents would wait to see what the budget picture is like next year before deciding whether to reimpose the 4 percent limit on tuition increases.

"They don't want to create a trend of higher costs, but it's too soon to say now," he said.

Rise in tuition

In-state undergraduate tuition after 5.5 percent increase approved yesterday:

...............................................2001-2002 ................. 2002-2003

Institution ..............................Tuition (fees) ............. Tuition (fees)

UM, College Park ................ $4,334 ($1,007) ........... $4,572 ($1,098)

Towson University ............... $3,605 ($1,379) ........... $3,804 ($1,597)

UM, Baltimore County ......... $4,374 ($1,536) ........... $4,615 ($1,748)

Coppin State College .......... $2,727 ($750) ............. $2,877 ($1,082)

University of Baltimore ........ $3,684 ($820) .............. $3,888 ($1,108)

Salisbury University ............. $3,216 ($1,270) ........... $3,394 ($1,410)

UM, Eastern Shore .............. $2,871 ($1,257) ........... $3,029 ($1,432)

Frostburg State U. ............... $3,444 ($812) .............. $3,632 ($986)

Bowie State U. ..................... $2,941 ($841) .............. $3,103 ($961)

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