Md. makes it harder for in-state students

May 06, 2010

April can be the cruelest of months for high school graduates applying to four year colleges and universities because of denied applications. For the vast majority of Maryland high school graduates who applied to one of the nine schools in the University System of Maryland, April was a month of disappointment. A significant reason is that the university system "sells off" 23 percent of the available freshman seats to out-of-state students.

This is a terrible proposition for Maryland's taxpaying parents that are funding the university system to have seats available for their child's education. This policy forces many Maryland parents to pay extremely high out-of-state tuition rates for children to attend a four-year college. Many Maryland students will no longer be able to afford a four year university.

This June, Maryland high schools will graduate 62,000 students, and these graduates will have sent 45,000 applications to Maryland's public four year colleges and universities to compete for the 13,000 available freshman seats. Out-of-state students will get 3,000 seats of them.

The two largest schools (the University of Maryland and Towson University) are emblematic of the policy of awarding freshman seats and state funds to out-of-state students. For the 2009/2010 school year, UM granted a full one-third of the freshman seats to non-Marylanders. That is 1,400 seats that were denied Maryland high school graduates.

At Towson, 28 percent of the freshman seats were granted to out-of-state students. High school graduates from New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania make up 25 percent of the current freshman class. Towson announced in press release that the town that benefited the most from Towson's out-of-state admissions policy was Cherry Hill, N.J. Of the 2,400 freshman that Towson enrolled, 672 students were non-Marylanders.

Due to this admissions policy, a Maryland high school applicant has less than a one-in-four chance of attending a Maryland four-year school as a freshman. A reduction in out-of-state admissions would raise the odds of Maryland freshman admissions significantly. A change in admission rates would restore fairness back to the Maryland taxpayers who fund the university system. The Maryland legislature and Gov. Martin O'Malley should address the "sell-off" of freshman seats to out-of-state students and return the opportunity of attending four-year schools back to Maryland students.

Pret Inmula, Linthicum

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