Governor O'Malley Announces College Tuition Freeze for Third Consecutive Year

USM Regents Vote to Freeze Tuition for 2008-2009 Academic Year

ADELPHI, MD (June 4, 2008) - Governor Martin O'Malley, joined by the Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, University System of Maryland Chancellor William "Brit" Kirwan, University System of Maryland Board Chairman Clifford Kendall, UMBC President Dr. Freeman Hrabowski and other officials, today announced a tuition freeze for higher education in Maryland for the third consecutive year, making college more affordable for Maryland's families.

"In order to compete in this global economy, now is more important than ever to hold the line on college tuition," said Governor O'Malley. "That is why, I am proud to announce that for a third consecutive year, we are able to freeze college tuition to help Maryland students and families make the dream of a college degree a reality and to help secure the strength of our workforce as we look toward tomorrow."

"We remain committed to ensuring that college is both affordable and accessible for anyone who is willing to work hard to better their own lives," said Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown. "I am proud to stand with Governor O'Malley as he announces that we will freeze tuition rates at state colleges and universities for the third straight year. This move will open new doors of opportunity for working families and working students."

Today, the University System of Maryland Board of Regents voted in favor of holding in-state undergraduate tuition for FY 2009. As a result of the tuition freeze, Maryland resident undergraduates who entered USM universities in fall 2005 and graduate in spring 2009 will not have experienced a tuition increase during their four years in college.

Since 2004, USM has fallen from the sixth to the 16th highest tuition in the nation, according to analysis of national public university tuition data published by The Chronicle of Higher Education.

"Many states are reducing aid to public higher education and raising tuition as a result," said USM Chancellor William E. Kirwan. "Maryland's leaders have chosen a different path: strengthening access to college through increased investment in higher education. As a result of the foresight and bold action by Governor Martin O'Malley and the General Assembly in this year's budgeting process, we are able to hold tuition constant for a third year. State investment in higher education is absolutely vital to keep our state economy strong by keeping education affordable, supporting research, and fostering entrepreneurship and opportunity for our citizens."

In his first 16 months in office, Governor O'Malley has invested $2.7 billion in higher education, a 28% increase from the previous administration in their first two years. Recognizing the unique role that community colleges play in educating our students, Governor O'Malley has also invested $586 million in Maryland's community colleges, a 42% increase from the previous administration in their first two years. In addition, working with the General Assembly, Governor O'Malley created the Higher Education Investment Fund, the first of its kind to dedicate a revenue stream to higher education. The purpose of the Fund is to keep tuition affordable for Maryland students and families and to invest in public higher education and workforce development.

Several public university systems in the U.S. have already announced plans to increase tuition rates for 2008-2009. Increases range from 6 percent for the State University System of Florida and 7 percent for University of Washington campuses to 7.4 percent for the University of California campuses and 10 percent for the California State University and University of Maine systems. According to the College Board, the average tuition increase at four-year public universities was 6.6 percent in FY 2008 and averaged 4.4 percent annually in the decade FY 1998-2008.

"We realize that these are economically uncertain times for many Maryland families," said Board of Regents Chair Clifford M. Kendall. "In fact, we are serving more and more students who are first-in-family to attend college and for whom cost is a major factor in their decision to complete their degrees or to apply at all. Moderating tuition increases is key to ensuring access to opportunity and a better quality of life for all Maryland citizens."

University System of Maryland's 11 degree-granting universities currently enroll more than 137,000 students, approximately 75,000 of which are resident undergraduates. The average in-state undergraduate tuition rate for USM is $5,081 annually.

Maryland is home to the highest percentage of professional and technical workers nationwide, and was ranked by Forbes magazine as the 3rd most highly skilled workforce in the nation. To help bolster the State's already strong workforce, last week, Governor O'Malley led a trade mission to Israel to strengthen the ties between Israel and Maryland's technology and bioscience industries. During the week-long mission, the Governor met with a number of high level Israeli business executives, and as a result, affirmed that two leading Israeli companies plan to open offices in Maryland, and Israel's largest bioscience company plans to continue its commitment to the State.

Tomorrow, Governor O'Malley will attend the grand opening of Comcast's new customer service center in Largo, Maryland. Later in the day, he will tour Breakaway, a software technology company in Baltimore County, to learn about and discuss the countless opportunities for Maryland's technology companies to build Maryland's workforce.

Contact: John Buettner
Phone: 301.445.2719