USM Advocacy Day Draws Large Turnout in Annapolis
System of Maryland Faculty, Staff and Students Rally for Budget Support
Adelphi, Md. (Feb. 28, 2017) --
University System of Maryland (USM) leadership councils representing students,
faculty, and staff met with members of the Maryland General Assembly today to
discuss system-wide priorities as part of USM Advocacy Day in Annapolis.
The Council of University System Faculty (CUSF), Council of
University System Staff (CUSS) and USM Student Council (USMSC) met as a group
with key legislators in the morning and during a noon luncheon to discuss system-wide
priorities, with a primary focus on support for Gov. Larry Hogan's $1.35
billion fiscal year 2018 state budget to the USM.
advisory councils to the Board of Regents and to the Chancellor, these members
represent the academic professionals, technically skilled and managerial group
employees, and students-all of whom are so vital to the USM. Council members
work diligently to engender a sense of university community and cultivate an
ideal environment for teaching, learning and service.
Advocacy Day is an annual event undertaken largely by the USM
councils in conjunction with the USM Foundation. The USM Office of Government
Relations helps to coordinate the organization process.
USM Chancellor Robert L. Caret addressed the group during
the USM Advocacy Day luncheon, attended by several legislators after the
various USM councils had met in individual legislators' offices during the
"We are the workforce engine. We are the economic engine of
Maryland," Caret told the group. "We need all of us to constantly reinforce the
message -- that we're here for the same thing: quality education and a strong
quality of life for the citizens of Maryland."
The proposed total
state support for the USM of $1.35 billion from the governor would come from
the General Fund and the Higher Education Investment Fund. The proposed budget results
in an increase from the current fiscal year of $26.6 million-or approximately 2
percent for the USM.
There are three
components to the $26.6 million increase in state funds: 1) funding for tuition
relief; 2) support to implement SB 1052, the University of Maryland Strategic
Partnership Act; and 3) funding for operating expenses for new building
The $16.4 million
fund for tuition relief will allow for a "tuition buy-down," enabling the USM
to cap resident undergraduate tuition increases at a modest 2 percent. This annual increase is well below annual
increases for in-state, undergraduate tuition that have risen between 5% and
12% from year to year in certain states around the U.S.
The luncheon group
also heard from Del. Adrienne A. Jones, an alumna of the University of
Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) who serves as Maryland Speaker Pro Tem of the
House of Delegates.
"We see in you,"
she told the students who'd gathered, "our future, in terms of what Maryland
With a continued
focus on tuition affordability, this is the second consecutive year Governor
Hogan has provided tuition relief to make college in Maryland more affordable
At this time
during the annual legislative session, the legislature
is considering the entire state operating budget. The legislature cannot add to
the budget. It has the ability only to make reductions in the budget. USM's main
priority is to ensure the legislature does not reduce the system's budget and
all funding is kept for higher education.
A critical message during USM Advocacy Day is that an
investment in the USM is an investment in the state of Maryland.
CUSF, CUSS, and the USMSC urged legislators to remember that
strong budgetary support of the USM helps to ensure the benefits that USM
brings to the state. These benefits include continued economic development and
improvement in the quality of life for Maryland citizens; advancement of commercialization
and technology transfer; and development of groundbreaking research and
discovery in such areas as health care, energy, and cybersecurity.
Contact: Mike Lurie