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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A Message from USM Chancellor Kirwan
Governor Martin O'Malley on January 21 released his FY 2010 budget proposal for the State of Maryland. In the midst of a national economic recession, the proposal seeks to protect the state's progress in public education, workforce investments, and affordable higher education.
As part of his ongoing commitment to high quality, affordable higher education, Gov. O'Malley has included a $27.3 million increase in general funds for the University System of Maryland for FY 2010. The increase would enable USM to hold tuition flat for in-state, full-time undergraduates for a fourth consecutive year. It also would cover increases in mandatory costs, including funding for new facilities operation and employee benefits.
At a time when families are experiencing economic stress, unemployment is rising, home values and savings accounts are declining, and the availability of financial aid is stretched, we applaud Gov. O'Malley's efforts to support affordability for our students. We also are keenly aware of USM's role in helping Maryland through the current fiscal crisis. The governor's proposal does not include funds for significant enrollment growth, program enhancements, or salary increases. Nevertheless, by managing resources well, USM will remain focused on its top priorities: providing students affordable access to excellent higher education opportunities; performing leading-edge research; advancing economic and workforce development, with particular emphasis on workforce shortage areas; and advancing quality of life in Maryland and beyond.
During the current fiscal year, USM has experienced a series of state budget reductions. Through sound management and financial practices, we are handling the cuts responsibly. We have implemented hiring controls and a furlough policy system-wide. We have reduced funds for facility renewal projects, financial aid, and some student services. At the same time, we are continuing our Effectiveness and Efficiency Initiative, which has yielded more than $100 million in cost savings during the past few years. And we have raised nearly $1.1 billion toward our private fund-raising goal of $1.7 billion to support student financial aid, program quality, and academic facilities.
Without question, investment in higher education yields tremendous returns for Maryland and its citizens. We have aligned our priorities with those of the state. We provide access and affordability. We continue to reduce costs and streamline services while maintaining quality. In this issue of USMBriefs, you will find a few of the hundreds of examples that demonstrate the university system's value to the state.
I urge you to support our efforts to protect and preserve the state's investment in higher education. General Assembly passage of Gov. O'Malley's proposed budget for USM will help keep college affordable and accessible for Maryland's families at this critical time.
USM Institutions Among "Top 50 Best Values" in Nation
Three USM institutions-Salisbury University, Towson University, and University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)-have placed among The Princeton Review's "Top 50 Best Values in Public Universities" for 2009. The rankings recognize outstanding institutions offering educational excellence with affordability.
USA Today and Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine recently ranked Salisbury, Towson, and University of Maryland, College Park, among "Best Values in Public Colleges for 2009." For the latest USM college rankings information, visit: USM in the National Rankings.
Contracts and Grants Support Tops $1 Billion Again
For the second consecutive year, USM institutions and system office competed successfully for more than $1 billion in contracts and grants support. This extramural funding supports initiatives in research, education, and service.
The $1.1 billion total for FY 2008 is about two percent higher than USM's FY 2007 total. Five USM institutions-Coppin State University, Frostburg State University, Salisbury University, Towson University, and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science-had double-digit increases over their FY 2007 totals. University of Maryland, Baltimore, attracted nearly $500 million, while the University of Maryland, College Park, attracted more than $400 million.
More Access for Community College Transfers
The number of Maryland community college students transferring to USM institutions has increased 16 percent during the past five years (FY 2004-FY 2008). During the same period, the number of African-American community college students transferring to a USM university increased 31 percent and the number of Hispanic students increased 19 percent.
Among the nearly 18,000 Maryland community college students who transferred to a USM institution in FY 2008, the most popular areas of studies were: business and management, the social sciences, computer and information science, education, and the health professions.
USM Addresses Rising Costs of Textbooks
The University System of Maryland Board of Regents at its February 13 meeting will consider a policy on textbook affordability measures in response to growing concerns about the rising cost of textbooks. With input from faculty, students, chief academic officers, and others, USM officials drafted the proposed policy as part of the system's ongoing efforts to maintain access and affordability for USM institutions.
The draft policy also takes into consideration the discussions at the November 2008 USM Textbook Summit, held jointly with St. Mary's College of Maryland, Morgan State University, the Maryland Association of Community Colleges, and the Maryland Independent Colleges and Universities Association. The day-long event brought together student representatives, state leaders, university administrators and faculty, bookstore operators, and textbook publishers to explore ways to reduce costs while ensuring that the highest quality and most relevant information is available to students.
Members of the Maryland General Assembly also have taken up the textbooks issue by proposing legislation. P.J. Hogan, USM's associate vice chancellor for government relations, recently testified in support, with amendments, of the Senate bill titled the College Textbook Competition and Affordability Act of 2009. To read Hogan's testimony and to learn more about USM's proposed policy, visit: http://www.usmd.edu/usm/legislation/
Chancellor Kirwan Leads Call to Reduce "Education Deficit"
USM Chancellor Kirwan joined higher education leaders from around the country in December to bring widespread attention to the nation's growing "education deficit." Kirwan, who chaired the College Board's Commission on Access, Admissions and Success in Higher Education, unveiled the report Coming to Our Senses: Education and the American Future at a news conference and briefing on Capitol Hill.
The report offers an action agenda detailing what the United States must do to regain its global competitive edge and reestablish its educational preeminence in the 21st century.
"We are fighting the clock now and will regret every moment lost," Kirwan said. "Other countries have made educational excellence a national priority while we have been satisfied with ‘average,' and it has cost us dearly."
Among its recommendations, the report emphasizes the importance of aligning the nation's K-12 system with international standards and college admissions and expectations.
Download the Report
Maryland Awarded Lumina Grant to Enhance Degree Productivity
The Lumina Foundation for Education has selected Maryland as one of 11 states to receive a $150,000 grant to increase degree productivity in higher education. The grant was presented to the University System of Maryland Foundation, Inc., on behalf of the state's major higher education organizations. USM will work in partnership with the Maryland Higher Education Commission, Maryland Association of Community Colleges, and the Maryland Independent Colleges and Universities Association
Provided through Lumina's Making Opportunity Affordable (MOA) initiative, the grant will be used to develop innovative strategies to promote sustainable improvements in degree productivity. Maryland will be eligible to compete next year for a $2-million Opportunity Grant to implement its strategies over four years.
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