Statement from William E. Kirwan, Chancellor,

University System of Maryland,

on Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich's Budget for USM

January 21, 2004


Governor Ehrlich made a commitment last year to level-fund the state-funded portion of the University System of Maryland's budget, and today he made good on that pledge. On behalf of the students, faculty, and staff of the 13-institution University System of Maryland (USM), I express our sincere appreciation to the governor.

As he promised, the governor included $746.2 million in state funding for USM in his just-released fiscal year 2005 budget proposal, the same level on which the system's current budget is based.

In addition, the governor's budget, if approved by the Maryland General Assembly, will help the system broaden access to quality public higher education. Included in the budget released today is the following.

  • $15.9 million in need-based financial aid for higher education statewide;
  • $1.1 million for start-up and operating costs of USM's new Hagerstown Regional Higher Education Center;
  • $500,000 for the revitalization of Coppin State College's physical infrastructure. Coppin is a USM institution;
  • An additional $100,000 for construction management of planned facilities at Coppin.

Fully funded, Governor Ehrlich's FY 2005 budget for the University System of Maryland will help the system support key initiatives to enhance affordable access to excellent public higher education.

I am especially excited about the funding for our new Hagerstown Center. This center, scheduled to open in spring 2005, will expand opportunities for USM students in that area. Currently, three USM institutionsFrostburg State University, which operates the center; University of Maryland, Baltimore; and University of Maryland University College--offer programs or courses at the Hagerstown location.

We are hopeful that as the state's economy improves in the years ahead, and additional resources become available, that the governor and the Maryland General Assembly will work with the university system to ensure a predictable funding stream to protect affordable access and quality. We at the University System of Maryland look forward to strengthening our partnership with the state's elected officials to provide first-rate programs to a growing number of students. It is important that Marylanders know that their elected officials and university system share the goal of affordable access to quality public higher education.

Contact: Anne Moultrie

Phone: 301/445-2722