Universities' room, board increases OK'd

April 11, 2009|By Stephen Kiehl | Stephen Kiehl,stephen.kiehl@baltsun.com

Room and board charges at state universities will go up between 1 percent and 7 percent next year under plans approved by the Board of Regents on Friday. The regents also said they expect to hold in-state undergraduate tuition steady for the coming academic year, after state lawmakers protected the university system from major budget cuts.

Dormitory charges will rise from 1 percent at Frostburg State University to 5 percent at Bowie State and Coppin State universities for the 2009-2010 term. Meal plan charges will also go up moderately, from 1.5 percent at Salisbury University to 7 percent at Frostburg State.

Regents are waiting to set tuition until the Maryland legislature gives final approval to the state budget. The budget that is nearing final passage would cut $5.8 million from the university system's $1 billion budget, a small reduction given the tough economy.

Regents praised Gov. Martin O'Malley and legislative leaders for making higher education a priority and said they expected to hold tuition steady for the fourth straight year.

"I've never seen a governor treat higher education better than Governor O'Malley," said Regent Francis X. Kelly Jr. "I feel very confident that we're not going to have to raise tuition this year."

Annual tuition and fees at state universities range from $5,140 at Coppin State to $8,780 at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. The University of Maryland, College Park charges $8,005. Although undergraduate tuition has held steady, tuition for graduate and professional students has increased 32 percent in the past five years. The president of the Graduate Student Government at College Park, Anupama Kothari, asked the regents Friday to consider the financial situation of graduate students. "To attract the best students, we need to have an affordable education," she said.

Under the rates for housing approved Friday, the typical annual dorm charge will rise from $5,402 to $5,549 at College Park, from $5,500 to $5,670 at UMBC and from $5,054 to $5,256 at Towson.

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