Class of 2023: USM Institutions on Track to Award 40,000 Degrees for Seventh Straight Year
At Commencement Season, Value of a College Degree and USM Economic Impact on Maryland Shine Through
Baltimore, Md. (May 16, 2023) – The University System of Maryland (USM) celebrates the achievements of the Class of 2023, graduates who are poised to enhance Maryland’s economy and quality of life.
For the seventh consecutive year, the USM’s 12 universities will award approximately 40,000 undergraduate and graduate degrees this May at ceremonies across Maryland. That includes some 25,000 bachelor’s degrees—the eighth straight year the system has reached that number.
USM institutions produce more than 75 percent of all bachelor’s degrees issued in Maryland, and more than half of these students remain in the state to work and live.
Led by USM alumni, Maryland continues to rank in the nation’s top five for residents with four-year degrees. The state is also among the nation’s top five for household income.
And roughly half of USM undergraduate students finish their degrees without taking on any debt.
The projected total of approximately 40,000 degrees for the Class of 2023 is inclusive of associate degrees that the University of Maryland Global Campus awards to military service members and veterans.
“Our students show us each day not just their brilliance but their resilience,” said USM Chancellor Jay A. Perman. “Commencement season is a celebration of both. I congratulate all of our graduating students, who make us deeply proud. And I thank their families and friends—everyone who nurtured their confidence and ambition so they could do great things.”
Gov. Moore Announced as 2023 Commencement Keynote Speaker at Coppin State University
Coppin State University, a USM historically black college and university (HBCU) located in west Baltimore, will welcome Maryland Gov. Wes Moore as he delivers the keynote address during the university’s 2023 Commencement ceremony at 9 a.m. on May 19.
It will be the first commencement address that he delivers as governor. Gov. Moore became Maryland’s 63rd and first African American governor in January. The ceremony will be held at the Coppin State Physical Education Complex Soccer Field.
Gov. Moore also offered a video message of congratulations to all USM graduates in the Class of 2023.
First Spring Commencement Ceremonies for Two Presidents
The May 2023 commencement ceremonies will mark the first for two USM presidents. Valerie Sheares Ashby is completing her first year as president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). Carolyn Ringer “Lyn” Lepre is finishing her inaugural year as president of Salisbury University.
The Value of a College Degree
USM graduates are entering the Maryland workforce at a time when studies show a substantial value of a college degree and its benefit to society overall.
Recent data from NACUBO, the National Association of College and University Business Officers, shows full-time workers with a bachelor’s degree earn 76 percent more annually than workers with only a high school diploma. Median earnings for bachelor’s degree recipients were $59,700 (in 2021 dollars), compared to $33,900 for those with only a high school diploma.
The impact on lifetime earnings is also profound. Using data from 2009-2019, bachelor’s degree holders earned $1.2 million more over their lifetime compared to people with just a high school diploma.
Compared to average wage earners with only a high school degree, bachelor’s degree holders during their lifetime contributed $278,000 more to their local economy and $44,000 more in state and local taxes. College graduates also are more likely to volunteer and to vote.
NACUBO also found that 68.1 percent of workers with a bachelor’s degree or higher are covered by a workforce retirement plan, compared to 42.6 percent with only a high school diploma.
USM Graduates and the Maryland Economy
In its most recent report (December 2021), the University of Baltimore’s Jacob France Institute found that each USM graduate will earn about $2.5-$4.4 million more in incremental earnings during his or her lifetime than a Maryland resident with only a high school diploma. USM graduates collectively provide $750 million-to-$1 billion in state sales and income taxes over their lifetimes.
The report also notes the USM’s prominent role in workforce development, with a strong impact on occupations that face worker shortages. The system generates 82 percent of bachelor’s STEM (non-health) degrees; 79 percent of education degrees; and 81 percent of both business and health degrees.
Graduates Headed to the Health-Care Professions
As the region has moved beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, degree production in the health-care professions has remained steady. The USM’s three regional higher education centers offer many of these degree programs. As a result, the programs are accessible to a greater number of students in key parts of the state.
The USM is expected to award approximately 3,500 health-care profession degrees this spring. Several USM institutions offer nursing degrees: University of Maryland, Baltimore; Coppin State; Towson University; Frostburg State; Salisbury University; Bowie State; and University of Maryland Global Campus.
The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB)—Maryland’s only public health, law, and human services university—will again graduate roughly 600 students with a professional practice doctorate from its schools of medicine (MD), dentistry (DDS), nursing (DNP), and pharmacy (PharmD), and its physical therapy program (DPT) offered in the School of Medicine. More than 50 percent of Maryland’s practicing physicians and other health care professionals are UMB School of Medicine graduates. In fiscal year 2022, UMB conferred 2,506 degrees and certificates upon 2,460 students.
UMB also offers bachelor’s degrees in dental hygiene, medical & research technology, and nursing. The number of bachelor’s graduates in these programs typically exceeds 400.
Maintaining Strong Production of STEM Degrees
Overall, the USM will again graduate a substantial number of students in STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, and math). Typically, USM schools award more than 11,000 STEM degrees outside of health professions, with approximately 8,000 going to undergraduates.
That number was even more robust in May 2022– the latest official count–with 12,335 STEM degrees awarded.
Minority students earn roughly half of all USM undergraduate STEM degrees. Traditionally, at least 7,000 students graduate with degrees in cyber security.
Commencement Details for Each Institution
Each USM institution offers details on its May 2023 commencement plans via its university website. A link to each website is available here. In addition to the commencement ceremony details available at each of these sites, each USM institution will profile noteworthy graduates.
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.
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. To learn about the new USM Strategic Plan, “Vision 2030: From Excellence to Preeminence,” visit https://www.usmd.edu/vision2030/.
Contact: Mike Lurie