- Campus Community
Good Tidings in State Funding
Dear University of Maryland community:
The newly minted state budget holds quite good news for our campus next year. Students, faculty, and staff will all see benefits, including a cap on in-state undergraduate tuition; cost-of-living and merit salary increases; and new funding for educational excellence, research, and innovation.
Once again, our "Education Governor," Martin O'Malley, and the General Assembly have shown remarkable vision and leadership in supporting higher education. They increased our state appropriations by more than $30M (to $447M), a 7.3% increase. In many other states, public universities face stagnant or declining funding and double-digit tuition increases. The State also approved all of our requests for capital investments.
With these new resources, we can pursue our most important goals, as set forth in my state-of-the-campus address last fall.
Tuition: Our elected officials provided funding to keep college affordable by holding the resident undergraduate tuition to a 3% increase. Maryland is at the bottom of all states in tuition growth. In this case, the bottom is where we want to be.
Pay raises: Next April, there will be a 2.5% merit increase, the first such raise in four years. Next January, for the second year in a row, there will be a cost-of-living increase, this time of 3%. We cannot expect to attract and keep the best faculty and staff if we do not offer competitive salaries. Compensation is related to educational quality and institutional reputation.
Growth in STEM majors: Over the next three years, we will fund the enrollment of about 350 additional science and engineering majors. For several years, we have had to turn away outstanding STEM students because we did not have the faculty and facilities to accommodate them. Now we can grow without compromising educational quality.
Transforming education with "blended" learning: We will be able to expand the number of courses that "blend" online and face-to-face pedagogy. Such redesigned courses have been shown to improve learning outcomes. They also help narrow the achievement gap.
Partnership with the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB): The State provided new resources for our partnership with UMB, known as MPowering the State, which joins our campus' scientific and engineering expertise with the biomedical and public health opportunities at our sister institution. The results will include a Collaborative School of Public Health and increased bio-informatics research.
Innovation and entrepreneurship: We received funding to integrate our technology commercialization operations with those of UMB in order to grow the number of start-up companies and thereby drive state economic development. Our new Academy of Innovation and Entrepreneurship will be able to sponsor more courses in this area for all students in all majors.
Revitalization of College Park: Working with local officials to develop the city into a top-20 college town is vital for the future of our University. It will help us recruit the best students, faculty, and staff. There is start-up funding to enable the College Park Academy -- a new charter school that is a partnership between the city, the University, and our College of Education -- to open this fall with 300 students. The State's transportation funding plan makes possible continued work on the Purple Line that will run through campus, as well as efforts to revitalize Route 1.
New and renovated buildings: We received planning funds for the new Edward St. John Learning and Teaching Center and the new bioengineering building. We also got funding for the new remote library storage facility, the renovation of H. J. Patterson, and equipment for the new Physical Sciences Complex.
New regional medical center in Prince George's County: The legislature appropriated $20 million as a down payment on a new hospital. It inserted budget language designating that our University and UMB work together to maximize the impact of this hospital by undertaking joint research, education, and economic development activities.
We are most grateful to our elected officials for their investment in the future of the University of Maryland and our State. And, my heartfelt thanks to everyone -- Chancellor Kirwan, SGA leaders, other students, faculty, staff, and administrators -- who worked so diligently in Annapolis to make possible these new opportunities.
Wallace D. Loh
President, University of Maryland