Financial Aid Recommendations Focus on Lowering Student Debt and Providing More Need-based Financial Aid

Education Policy Committee to discuss financial aid report at Nov. 16 meeting

ADELPHI, Md. (November 11, 2004)  The Education Policy Committee
of the University System of Maryland (USM) Board of Regents will
consider recommendations to address students' rising debt from
higher education loans and the need for more need-based financial
aid. The committee will discuss the recommendations at its
meeting scheduled to begin at 9:30 am Tuesday, November 16. The
meeting will be in the Multipurpose Room of the University of
Maryland Biotechnology Institute's Christopher Columbus Center,
701 East Pratt Street, in Baltimore.
     USM Chancellor William E. Kirwan appointed the USM Task
Force on Financial Aid four months ago to develop the
recommendations as part of the system's continuing efforts to
provide qualified students affordable access to excellent
programs. Chaired by Nancy Kopp, State of Maryland Treasurer, the
task force included regents; presidents, other administrators,
and students from USM institutions; Maryland Higher Education
staff members; and two state legislators, Sen. P.J. Hogan and
Del. James E. Proctor, Jr.
     The task force recommendations center on maximizing cost
savings through more effective and efficient administrative
processes, increasing fund-raising efforts to attract more need-
based financial aid, and fostering the development of policies
and practices to lower student debt. The task force report also
notes that realizing these goals depends on identifying new or
increased federal, state, and system funding sources.
     Among the task force recommendations is establishing a goal
to decrease the debt burden for undergraduate students,
particularly those in the highest need range, by increasing
institutional grants. The task force report also calls for
directing USM institutions to increase the proportion of
institutional aid allocated to need-based programs. While the
percentage of funds allocated to need-based institutional aid has
increased system-wide (8 percent, from $13.7 million in FY 2003
to $14.8 million in FY 2003), a much greater amount of non-need-
based institutional aid has been awarded ($41.2 million in FY
2002 and $42.8 million in FY 2003).
     Other recommendations include increasing financial aid
access for community college students who transfer to USM
institutions, and helping all students gain wider understanding
of debt management and alternative funding sources. Copies of the
USM Financial Aid Task Force report will be available at
Tuesday's meeting.
     In other business, the Education Policy Committee will
consider proposals for the following programs.
    University of Baltimore/Towson University Joint MBA Program;

    Master of Engineering and Public Policy Program at the
  University of Maryland, College Park;

    Global MBA, a collaboration between University of Maryland
  University College (UMUC) and other universities around the

    Master of Science in Financial Management and Information
  Systems at UMUC.

  Committee members also will consider a proposal to create a
School for Health Professions at the University of Maryland
Eastern Shore to train health professionals through an integrated
approach. The new school would include four UMES departments:
Exercise Science, Physical Therapy, Physician Assistant, and
Rehabilitation Services.
  In addition, the committee will receive reports on academic
advising, academic program reviews, and USM faculty instructional
  Full agendas and background information will be available at
the meeting. Sign language interpreters and/or other appropriate
accommodations for eligible individuals with disabilities will be
provided upon request. Please call 301.445.2756 (voice) or
301.314.7683 (TTY/ITT) to make special arrangements.

Contact: Anne Moultrie

Phone: 301/445-2722