This periodic newsletter shares how the University System of Maryland is advancing quality and access to
higher education for students and the State of Maryland.
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State Cuts USM Operating Budget, Fund Balance
As part of a package of $350 million in mid-year budget cuts, the Board of Public Works approved a $15.4 million reduction in general funds for the University System of Maryland's (USM) FY 2009 operating budget as well as a draw-down of $20 million from the system's fund balance. The fund balance is maintained to protect individuals who hold USM-issued bonds, to fund capital needs, and to hold the system's good credit rating.
To absorb the cuts, USM has imposed a hiring freeze and will reduce course sections, delay facilities renewal and maintenance projects, and postpone several planned workforce development programs.
"USM will do everything it can to dampen the impact of the cuts on our students and essential services," said Chancellor William E. Kirwan. "Despite the gravity of the state's fiscal issues, we will work to maintain our current level of need-based financial aid and avoid a mid-year tuition increase. Maintaining affordable access to quality higher education is our top priority."
Record Enrollment Increases Across System
The number of students attending USM institutions has jumped four percent, reaching a record high of 143,416 total full- and part-time students statewide as of fall 2008. The increase translates into an additional 6,000 students over fall 2007's total enrollment (137,412).
Total annual enrollment has grown 14,991 since fall 2005--adding the student population equivalent of a campus the size of University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) to the system in the last three years.
Factors such as increasing high school graduation rates, increased institutional financial aid, and larger numbers of people returning to college during economic downturns are converging to prompt the enrollment surge. USM projects total annual enrollment to grow 24 percent--more than 33,000 students--by 2017.
USM Universities Tops in Latest U.S. News Rankings
USM schools are again among the nation's top universities in the latest edition of U.S. News & World Report's annual college rankings.
According to the 2009 edition of the magazine's America's Best Colleges released in August, UMBC ranked No. 5 among "up-and-coming" national universities, while University of Maryland, College Park ranked No. 18 among top national public universities. University of Maryland Eastern Shore ranked No. 27 among the nation's historically black colleges and universities, and Salisbury University and Towson University were neck-in-neck at No. 7 and No. 8 respectively among Top Public Universities-Master's category (North).
For the latest college rankings information, visit the USM in the National Rankings page.
USM Launches Outreach to Maryland Middle Schoolers
With the help of a three-year, $210,000 commitment from aerospace and defense leader ATK, USM has launched a new information campaign to help put more students on a college-bound path at an earlier age. Called Way2GoMaryland, the campaign features a new web site (www.way2gomaryland.org) and will host events around the state to help middle- and high-school students prepare for a successful transition to college life.
"To ensure that more students have the opportunity to pursue a degree successfully and improve their quality of life, we need to help them focus on attending college from middle school onward," said Chancellor Kirwan. "Way2GoMaryland will help them and their families know the steps they need to take to stay on a college-bound path."
"As an advanced aerospace and defense company, ATK understands the importance of education and is committed to helping provide the opportunity and the tools that the young men and women of Maryland need to reach their future goals," added Jack Cronin, president of ATK Missions Systems Group.
Chancellor Creates STEM Task Forces
Chancellor Kirwan has created two presidential task forces in order to advance the work of Governor Martin O'Malley's STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Commission and USM's system-wide competitiveness initiative. They will provide status reports to the chancellor as the system prepares its FY 2010 budget request and remain "on call" in support of the STEM Commission.
The first task force will focus on competitiveness issues as they relate to research, knowledge creation, and translational research within the USM, and the impediments to technology-based economic growth within the state. University of Maryland, College Park President C. Dan Mote will chair the task force. The second one will examine the issues of STEM workforce development and develop goals and strategies to insure that Maryland has the number of skilled professionals in STEM areas to sustain a leading knowledge economy. Towson University President Bob Caret, who serves on the Governor's Workforce Investment Board, will chair this task force.
"Enhancing Maryland's competitiveness and developing a world-class STEM workforce, is one of USM's overarching priorities," said the chancellor. "These task forces will be invaluable in helping us establish the priorities and shape the policies that will make our state a world leader in the knowledge economy."
USM's Federated Campaign Passes $1 Billion Milestone
Just three years into the seven-year fundraising initiative, USM's federated campaign has raised $1.03 billion as of July 31, 2008. The campaign--which includes the system's 11 universities and two research institutions--has a goal of raising $1.7 billion in private donations by June 30, 2012.
"For every one dollar invested in fundraising, USM institutions generate seven dollars in private support," said Leonard Raley, USM's vice chancellor for advancement. "This philanthropy directly benefits the state by strengthening the resources of our public educational and research institutions that fuel innovation, drive our state's knowledge economy, and prepare our citizens for success in the workforce."
The campaign has received more than 265,000 gifts and raised more than 120 gifts of $1 million or more in its first three years.
$12.4 Million Grant to Boost STEM Education
The National Science Foundation has awarded USM--in partnership with Prince George's County Public Schools and Prince George's Community College--a five-year, $12.4 million grant to enhance STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) teaching and learning experiences in Prince George's County schools. Called MSP-Squared--Minority Student Pipeline Math Science Partnership--the project will address one of the most pressing state and national issues in education: the under-representation of minorities in STEM professions and fields of study.
Four USM institutions--the USM Office of Academic Affairs, Bowie State University, University of Maryland, College Park, and University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute--in collaboration with Prince George's Community College will work with core partner Prince George's County Public Schools to coordinate the project's multi-level strategy to enhance teacher development and student experiences in the sciences.
USM Profile 2008-2009 Now Available
The University System of Maryland has released Profile 2008-2009, a handy brochure that provides an overview of the system, the Board of Regents, and vital statistics on our 11 universities, two research institutions, and two regional higher education centers.
To request a free copy, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be glad to send you one by mail.
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