USM Students Alerted to Possibility of
Tuition Increases

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."

Chris Hart
Phone: 301/445-2739