USM Students Alerted to Possibility of
January 8, 2003
University System of Maryland (USM) officials are alerting students
at the USM's 11 degree-granting institutions that mid-year tuition
increases may become necessary "to maintain a high quality of
education and essential student services" if further significant
cuts are made to the university system's budget.
In a letter to students, William E. Kirwan, chancellor of the
system, and Clifford M. Kendall, chair of the system's Board
of Regents, said that the system has already been cut $42.5
million in this fiscal year. "Regrettably," the letter states,
"based on our analysis of the state's continuing fiscal
condition, the state's latest revenue estimates, and the
circumstances in other states across the country, we must
alert you to the real possibility of further significant
cuts this year ... Should such cuts occur, it may be necessary
for some system institutions to reduce personnel costs
further and impose a mid-year tuition increase."
If a mid-year increase becomes necessary, the system
officials said they anticipate it will not exceed five
percent for the spring semester and each institution
would be given the discretion to raise the tuition or
not, up to the five percent limit. They also said that
accommodations would be made for students who are
eligible for need-based aid and that institutions
would provide flexibility in the schedule of payment
for the additional tuition. In a separate statement,
Kirwan said, "My main focus is on protecting academic
quality for the benefit of our students and ensuring
the continuation of essential student services." Kirwan
said that he has directed institutions to develop
contingency plans to address possible budget reductions.
A tuition increase would have to be approved by the
system's 17-member Board of Regents.
Kendall said that the board has not made a decision
about the increase. "This would be an extraordinary
step," he said, "but considering the current degree
of uncertainty about the budget deficit it is only
fair that we alert students to this possibility."