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Report on 2018 MD General Assembly Session

Dear University of Maryland community,

With the conclusion of this year’s General Assembly session, I can report that Governor Hogan and the legislature have demonstrated their continuing support for UMD and the University System of Maryland (USM).

The budget for the next fiscal year includes a cost-of-living increase of 2%, starting next January. Additionally, if the state ends the current fiscal year (this June) with at least $75M more in tax revenue than currently projected, an additional .5% pay increase and a one-time $500 bonus will follow, beginning in April 2019.

In support of college affordability, Governor Hogan and the General Assembly have acted to limit tuition increases to 2% in the fiscal year that begins this July.

The General Assembly also passed important legislation that will allow UMD to set up a quasi-endowment for the express purpose of helping to match donor contributions to the Clark Challenge for Maryland Promise—an ambitious plan to raise a permanent $100 million endowment for need-based financial aid.

The legislative session began with great uncertainty because of federal tax changes that, in effect, shifted some costs to the state. In the end, the legislature concurred with Governor Hogan’s proposed increase of $39M for the System, about a 3% increase for UMD. Still, UMD's operating budget will remain tight in the coming year.

For our capital building projects—funded from the sale of long-term bonds, unlike operating funds based solely on tax revenues—the Governor and General Assembly were very supportive, keeping construction on schedule. These projects include the final touches to the A. James Clark Hall for Engineering; work on the Brendan Iribe Center for Computer Science and Innovation; clinical (orthopedic) and research (neuroscience, health and human performance) facilities in the renovated Cole Fieldhouse; beginning work on the new Public Policy Building; and planning for a new Chemistry building.

Among other important legislation approved: new state investment in local companies that will support innovation and help spur economic development around campuses across the state. Other legislation authorizes the University to have epi-pens in the dining halls and recreation centers to protect students, staff, and faculty in case of a severe allergic reaction.

Additionally, we got encouraging news from Washington, D.C., in the final major omnibus appropriations that will fund the government through the remainder of this fiscal year (ends September 30, 2018). It included significant increases in many high-priority research and higher education programs, such as NIH, DOE, NASA, Pell grants, TRIO, and more.  The bill also included funding for the Purple Line, which will have 5 stops in and around our campus.  More details here: https://research.umd.edu/news/news_story.php?id=11264

Again, I thank the General Assembly and the Governor for their ongoing support, particularly in these uncertain times. I also thank Congress—especially Maryland’s delegation—and the Administration for protecting programs that support our faculty, students, and staff.

Additionally, I want to acknowledge those who advocated so effectively for UMD in Annapolis and Washington, D.C.: USM officials; our state and federal government relations staff; our faculty, staff, and students; and the loyal alums and generous supporters on our University of Maryland Foundation Board of Trustees.

To all, thank you for your commitment to excellence at UMD.

Sincerely,

Wallace D. Loh
President, University of Maryland