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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Governor's Higher Education Budget Gives State the Economic Advantage
In late January and early February, Clifford Kendall, chair of the University System of Maryland (USM) Board of Regents, and William Kirwan, USM chancellor, testified before legislators in support of Governor Martin O'Malley's proposed FY 2008 operating budget for the system. The governor's budget, which calls for $933 million in general funds for USM (a 6.8 percent increase over FY 2007) and a freeze on in-state undergraduate tuition, would allow the system to meet both its mandatory operating costs and the cost of expected enrollment increases in 2007-08.
The increase would also enable the system to pursue several programs vital to Maryland's educational and economic competitiveness, including enhancements for the state's flagship, University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP); support for USM's three historically black universities (Bowie State University, Coppin State University, and University of Maryland Eastern Shore); STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) initiatives aimed at placing more science and math teachers in Maryland's schools; and a $10 million increase in financial aid for needy students.
The General Assembly makes the final decision on the state appropriations portion of the USM FY 2008 operating budget based on available state revenues and other factors.
Chancellor Kirwan's and Regent Kendall's complete legislative testimony is available online through our USM Legislative Testimony web page.
USM Institutions Rank Among the Best
National rankings of USM institutions continue to tell a story of excellence, public service, access, and affordability in comparison with peers across the country. In the 2007 U.S. News & World Report's America's Best Colleges rankings, the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP) placed 18th among the nation's public universities. Salisbury University (SU) and Towson University (TU) ranked No. 5 and No. 6 respectively in U.S. News' Top Public Universities-Master's (North) category.
U.S. News also ranks the University of Maryland, Baltimore's (UMB) professional schools among the best in the country. UMB's clinical law, pharmacy, and nursing programs are all in the Top 10 nationally, while the School of Social Work places in the Top 20.
In terms of access and affordability, Kiplinger's magazine recognized both SU and UMCP in its "100 Best Values in Public Colleges" list for 2007. Coppin State University's (CSU) efforts to cross the "digital divide" and make laptops affordable for at-need students placed at No. 30 on Campus Technology magazine's list of "101 Best Practices."
The spirit of public service is strong on USM campuses as well. UMCP recently ranked 12th among large U.S. colleges and universities that produced the most Peace Corps volunteers in 2006. The University of Baltimore (UB) was among the nation's first institutions to receive the Carnegie Foundation's "community engaged" classification, recognizing institutions with a proven track record of community service and partnerships.
Find more information at our USM Institutions in National Rankings web page.
Universities See Record Enrollments
Growing enrollments are not only part of a national trend but reflect USM's efforts to improve citizens' access to higher education. In fall 2006, the number of students attending USM institutions reached a record high of 135,005. The increase translated into an additional 6,580 students systemwide, a five percent jump from fall 2005 and 10 percent above the 6,000 headcount increase set by USM as part of the FY 2007 Enrollment Funding Initiative (EFI).
Designed by USM in collaboration with the Governor's Office and General Assembly, EFI provided $14.9 million in state funding to the system's FY 2007 budget to meet increased enrollment demands. Under EFI, the Board of Regents designated Salisbury University, Towson University, and University of Maryland University College (UMUC) as the system's primary growth institutions.
Each of the targeted institutions exceeded its funded enrollment projections. Salisbury and Towson each grew by five percent (adding 374 and 1,254 students respectively), while UMUC grew 20 percent, adding 5,352 students. All told, seven of the system's 11 degree granting institutions--Salisbury; Towson; University of Baltimore (UB); University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB); University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC); University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES); and UMUC--saw new enrollment grow between 1 and 20 percent.
"EFI proved to be a successful budgetary formula for meeting the cost obligations that growing enrollment places on the state's universities," said USM Chancellor William Kirwan. "It was a new strategy for USM and the state, and we are very pleased by the results. Thanks to the state's support through EFI, we made great strides toward our goal to have a place within USM for every qualified Maryland high school graduate."
USM, Community Colleges Work to Ease Transfer Process
Statistics show that since 2000, the number of community college students in the state who transferred to USM institutions has risen more than 25 percent. As more and more Marylanders use community colleges as stepping stones to four-year degrees, collaboration between USM and the Maryland Association of Community Colleges (MACC) is easing the transfer process and giving thousands of students seamless access to bachelor degree programs at the state's four-year institutions.
"Improving access to higher education means addressing the needs of all students, whether they are full-time or part-time, working adults with careers and family obligations or those just out of high school," said Teri Hollander, USM associate vice chancellor for academic affairs. "I think the collaborations between USM and Maryland's community colleges have been successful at removing the obstacles toward successful and timely completion of degrees."
USM will unveil a new web site outlining the many USM/community college programs now in place, including information on admission, financial aid and scholarships, and coursework and prerequisites. Look for a public announcement this spring.
UMCP Transfer Advantage Program
UMUC Alliance Program
Tuition Waivers Assist BRAC Transferees, Families
In anticipation of the influx of civilian military employees and their families into Central Maryland over the next five years as part of the realignments under the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC), the Board of Regents in December approved a waiver of the 12-month residency requirement for civilian military employees and defense contractors transferred to Maryland under BRAC.
The waiver allows these categories of workers, as well as their spouses and dependent children, to qualify for in-state tuition immediately upon their transfer.
To assist these families with their relocations, USM has established a web page with helpful information, including details on the documentation needed to qualify for the waiver and links to the system's 11 degree-granting institutions. The system has also publicized the web page and sponsored an advertisement in a BRAC transfer guide distributed to the affected bases.
USM Salutes Maryland African-American Artists
If you have a break during this year's legislative season, stop by the second-floor gallery of the Miller Senate Office Building in Annapolis to see "Figures of Freedom," an exhibition showcasing the works of Maryland's African-American visual artists.
Throughout history, artists have grappled with the universal question of freedom, whether through individual experience or social struggles. African-American visual artists for the most part, however, have not received the attention and popular acclaim that African-American musicians and writers have garnered. "Figures of Freedom" brings Maryland's African-American visual artists to the forefront and shares their perspectives on the personal and communal meaning of freedom.
The exhibition is cosponsored by USM and the Department of Business and Economic Development's Division of Tourism, Film, and the Arts. It will run through November 15, 2007.
Chancellor Receives Speaker's Medallion
On Thursday, February 15, 2007, USM Chancellor William Kirwan became the 16th recipient of the Maryland House of Delegates Speaker's Medallion. Presented every year since 1995, the annual award recognizes a Maryland citizen who has demonstrated exemplary service to the House and to the State of Maryland.
"I want to take this occasion to express my profound appreciation to the General Assembly, and most especially this body," Kirwan said as he accepted the award from House Speaker Michael Busch. Former president of the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP) from 1988 to 1998, Kirwan was appointed USM chancellor on August 1, 2002.
"I've been in higher education for almost a half a century," he added. "I know a lot about universities across the country and the relationship they have with their legislatures. I know of no system of higher education that enjoys greater support from its legislature than we do in Maryland. It is this body that led the way, creating the 1988 charter for higher education and calling for a system of postsecondary education that would be second to none. Over the years, in good times and bad, you have kept the promise of that vision alive."
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