University System of Maryland Freezes Tuition, Room & Board Rates for 2020-21 Academic Year
Move Reflects Chancellor and Board of Regents’ Concern for Students and State Economy
Baltimore, Md. (June 19, 2020) – The University System of Maryland (USM) will freeze tuition, as well as room-and-board rates, for undergraduate and graduate students and families for the upcoming 2020-21 academic year. The USM Board of Regents voted to approve this recommendation originally put forward by Chancellor Jay A. Perman during the board’s Finance Committee meeting on June 10. Under the policy, the USM will maintain the same tuition and room and board rates that were in place during the recently completed 2019-20 academic year.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the state and national economies, as well as public and private colleges and universities nationwide. However, the board’s decision to freeze tuition and room-and-board rates reflects the system’s ongoing commitment to offering a high-quality academic experience that is affordable for students and families. National publications continue to rank USM schools among the nation’s best.
“The Board of Regents is profoundly aware of the pressures facing everyone in higher education during this time—faculty, staff, and especially students,” said USM Board Chair Linda Gooden. “Our students worked hard to adjust to the unexpected changes brought on by the pandemic while also completing their academic work—they ‘pushed through’ these challenges all the way to the final weeks of the 2020 spring semester. The board’s decision today allows the system to show support for our students and families by holding tuition and room-and-board rates steady so they can better navigate what we know for many has been great economic hardship.”
The decision to freeze both tuition and room-and-board fees was not an easy one, since both support such essential activities as instruction, information technology, academic counseling, financial aid, residence halls, health centers, libraries, security, and other administrative costs. These administrative costs also include enhanced training for remote learning. The coronavirus pandemic caused disruption throughout higher education nationally and caused financial loss to institutions across the USM. Despite these financial challenges, the regents and the chancellor felt the need to support students and families during an even greater time of economic challenge and uncertainty. Costs for the USM are increasing due to the investment in changes to campus buildings that are needed to protect students, staff, and faculty during the pandemic.
“I take great pride in the resilience our students have shown since their lives were upended by COVID-19. We recognize that these students have faced unprecedented challenges–financial, physical, emotional, and academic,” Chancellor Perman said. “By freezing tuition for the upcoming year, we're trying to ease the financial strain on our students and families, while continuing to offer the highest quality academic experience, an experience that defines our University System institutions.”
As Chancellor Perman noted early in 2020 in testimony to Maryland General Assembly committees, the USM has done strong work in two major priority areas: higher education access and affordability.
With average in-state tuition and fees below the national average for four-year public universities, USM institutions offer both academic excellence and affordability to Maryland’s students and families.
Need-based financial aid is up. Nearly half of USM undergraduate students graduate with zero debt. In fall 2019, USM estimated that during the next decade undergraduate enrollment will expand 6.4 percent.
The USM is also keeping costs down by decreasing the time-to-degree-completion and striving for continued improvement in 6-year-graduation rates. The most recent cohort of first-time, full-time freshmen represents a graduation rate of 72 percent--an all-time high for any six-year USM cohort.
In the days preceding today’s Board of Regents decision to freeze tuition and room and board rates in 2020-21, the USM announced a guiding framework for campuses as each institution plans for the fall semester.
The health and safety of students, faculty, staff, and the surrounding community is paramount to fall semester planning at each USM institution. Additionally, all USM campuses are determined to ensure quality and equity in students’ learning experience, with the understanding that their students will be learning in different ways and in different environments.
The USM comprises 12 institutions: Bowie State University; Coppin State University; Frostburg State University; Salisbury University; Towson University; the University of Baltimore; the University of Maryland, Baltimore; the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science; the University of Maryland, College Park; the University of Maryland Eastern Shore; and the University of Maryland Global Campus. The USM also includes three regional centers—the Universities at Shady Grove, the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown, and the University System of Maryland at Southern Maryland—at which USM universities offer upper-division undergraduate and graduate courses.
Systemwide, student enrollment exceeds 172,000. The USM and its institutions compete successfully nearly $1.5 billion in external grants and contracts annually. USM institutions and programs are among the nation's best in quality and value according to several national rankings. To learn more about the University System of Maryland, visit www.usmd.edu.
Contact: Mike Lurie