USMBriefs -- University System of Maryland

University System of Maryland

University System of Maryland


Welcome to USMBriefs

Welcome to the first issue of USMBriefs. We've created this e-newsletter to share how the 13-institution University System of Maryland is enhancing quality, access, and affordability for students and the State of Maryland. We plan to distribute it about four times a year. Please send us your views and questions about what you read in USMBriefs:

Governor's Budget Helps
Moderate Tuition Increases

The USM Board of Regents has approved a $3.3-billion FY 2006 operating budget for the system. The budget includes an average 5.8 percent increase in undergraduate tuition for in-state students at most USM campuses.

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. included $800 million in his state budget to support the system's FY 2006 budget. His action enabled the regents to begin moderating tuition increases after two years of double-digit hikes.

USM Board Chair Clifford Kendall and Chancellor William Kirwan said the general-fund allocation signals the beginning of the state's reinvestment in higher education. State support for the system reached a high of $864 million in FY 2002. State funds supporting the current (FY 2005) budget totals $757 million.

The governor also has announced a $140-million capital budget to support critical USM projects.

Kendall and Kirwan expressed their appreciation to Gov. Ehrlich and the General Assembly for their shared goal of maintaining a strong and competitive public higher education system.

What is E&E?
Increasing enrollment capacity, reducing operational costs, and funding quality are the objectives of the USM Effectiveness and Efficiency (E&E) Program, launched under the leadership of the USM Board of Regents.

Since FY 2002, USM has faced difficult fiscal and enrollment demand challenges, including a 12.5 percent decrease in state funds. E&E is changing the way the university system operates to meet these challenges successfully. One E&E strategy is to leverage the buying power of the system's institutions even more to cut costs. This collaborative approach is enabling the system to save $7 million over 10 years in its contract with Oracle-PeopleSoft.

To increase enrollment capacity, the system is taking several steps. For example, the regents are reviewing three policies to enable undergraduates to accelerate their time to degree and thereby save money. In addition, USM is concentrating future enrollment growth at its lower-cost institutions. Enrollment demand is projected to jump 30 percent during the next decade. Fall 2004 enrollment for USM was 128,804.

USM Attracts $50-Million
More in Contracts and Grants

Faculty and staff at USM institutions attracted $945 million in external contracts and grants in FY 2004, supporting research and other projects. This is a nearly six percent increase over the FY 2003 total of $894 million.

As one of the most dynamic and vital sectors of Maryland's economy, academic research supports thousands of jobs statewide. USM's success in competing for external support has a tremendous impact on the state's economy, while advancing knowledge and practice in a wide range of areas.

Hagerstown Center Broadens Access
USM opened the doors to its new regional higher education center in downtown Hagerstown in January. Three USM institutions--Frostburg State University; University of Maryland University College; and University of Maryland, Baltimore, are offering programs there. Programs are available in business, education, and nursing. Other USM institutions are expected to offer more programs at the center in the near future.

USM at Hagerstown builds on the success of the system's first regional center, the Universities at Shady Grove, at which system institutions have been offering programs for several years. Seven USM institutions are serving 2,200 students at the Montgomery County location.

C. David Warner III, executive director of the Hagerstown center, says some 500 students are expected to enroll at Hagerstown for fall 2005.

USM Wins Grant to Enhance K-16 Education
The National Science Foundation has awarded USM a $500,000 grant to study the impact of NSF initiatives designed to strengthen the teaching of science, technology, engineering, and math to undergraduates. The study also will focus on the initiatives' effectiveness in preparing future educators to teach these subjects.

USM, in partnership with community colleges and public school systems, has competed successfully for other major awards related to teacher education. During the last few years, the system received the following: a $7.5-million NSF grant to provide professional development for Montgomery County teachers; a $6-million grant from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) to address the teacher shortage in Baltimore City; and a $4.2-million DOE grant to improve teacher preparation, recruitment, and retention in Prince George's County.

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