A Message from Chancellor William E.
to the University System of Maryland
January 21, 2009
This afternoon, Governor Martin O'Malley unveiled his FY
2010 budget proposal for the State of Maryland. Despite the extraordinarily
difficult fiscal environment, the Governor's budget restores $30 million of
general funds cut from the University System of Maryland's FY 2009 operating
budget; it also includes an additional $27.3 million increase in general funds
for FY 2010. The Governor once again has demonstrated his strong commitment to
higher education, to our university system, and to high quality, affordable
higher education for the students and families of Maryland.
Included in the increase is $16 million, which-if the
proposed budget survives the legislative session-will enable USM to hold
tuition flat for in-state, full-time undergraduate students for the fourth
consecutive year. The Governor's budget also covers the mandatory increase in
costs we face next year, including funds to operate new facilities, increases
in employee benefits, and other inflationary costs.
Due to the ongoing fiscal crisis, the FY 2010 proposal for
USM does not include funds for salary increases for employees, significant
enrollment growth, or program enhancements. Nevertheless, the Governor's budget
would avoid the need for further significant cuts and enable our institutions
to remain focused on our top priorities: providing students affordable access
to excellent higher education opportunities; performing leading-edge research;
playing a major role in economic and workforce development; and advancing the
quality of life in Maryland and the nation.
Gov. O'Malley also proposed $172 million in capital funding
for USM, which includes the acceleration of several important academic
Thanks to the outstanding work of USM faculty and staff, our
university system has earned a well-deserved reputation for academic and
research excellence, and sound management and financial practices. Our
institutions continue to earn top national rankings. Our ongoing Effectiveness
and Efficiency Initiative has gained considerable national attention and
resulted in more than $100 million in cost savings. And, we are making
impressive strides on our three major USM initiatives: closing the student
achievement gap; advancing the state's STEM and research competitiveness; and
addressing the issues of climate change.
The last several months have been stressful and challenging
for everyone. During the current fiscal year, we have sustained general fund
reductions totaling $51 million, which were handled primarily through a hiring
freeze and furloughs. But through it all, thanks to the dedication and professionalism
of our faculty and staff, our institutions continue to move forward. While
today's economic climate may slow the rate of our progress, I am so proud of
the way our faculty and staff work relentlessly to build the quality of our
institutions with an unwavering dedication to the students and the state we
While we face the distinct possibility of further budget
cuts if economic conditions in the nation and state continue to decline, our
immediate focus must be on protecting the Governor's proposed budget as it is
considered by the Maryland General Assembly. Reductions to this budget would be
harmful to our students, our institutions, and our state. I look forward to
working with our regents; presidents; system-wide faculty, staff and student councils;
and other members and friends of the USM community to support full funding of
the Governor's proposed FY 2010 budget.
As always, I appreciate everything that USM faculty, staff,
and students do to advance our university system, all the more so during these
very difficult economic times.